Team Rahul versus the Old Guard. Who will win? Renu Mittal reports.
Who will win the battle for control of the Congress party?
An ugly confrontation is on between the party's old guard and a group of young Congressmen who have denounced senior leaders for 'damaging the party's image' by making controversial statements.
No surprises, but Congress general secretaries close to party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi are behind the youthful rebellion.
Image, left: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi with Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh.
Their ire is directed largely against General Secretaries Janardan Dwivedi and Digvijaya Singh for giving the impression that Rahul is solely responsible for the debacle in the Lok Sabha election when the Congress won just 44 seats. Team Rahul wants its loyalists to now take on the party VP's many senior detractors.
Sixteen Congress secretaries drafted a letter on September 2 to be sent to party general secretaries and Congress Working Committee members, criticising senior leaders (without names, of course!) for their comments, asking the old guard to introspect about what went wrong at the general election.
It is wrong to blame one man (you-know-who) for the rout, this letter adds, as decisions were taken unanimously during the election campaign.
Among the Rahul loyalists are C P Joshi, Madhusudan Mistry, Harish Chaudhary, Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Suraj Hedge and Naseeb Singh.
By-elections to 33 assembly constituencies are on, state assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra will follow (and the Congress seems sets to lose power in both states) and Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand thereafter, but all that can wait till Rahul and his supporters thwart the veterans and gain control of the party.