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Patience wearing thin with Rahul's style of functioning?

By Renu Mittal
July 14, 2014 23:09 IST
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Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi's decision to use the same team he used in the Lok Sabha polls for the upcoming assembly elections has not gone down well with many in the party. contributor Renu Mittal reports 

Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi is keen to send a message to his party leaders and workers that his team was not responsible for the Congress’s Lok Sabha election debacle.  

He also wants to make it clear to those who have criticised his style of functioning that the he would run the party the way he thinks best.

It now seems obvious that Congress President Sonia Gandhi has once again left election management of the 4 state assemblies -- Maharashtra, Haryana, J&K and Jharkhand -- going to the polls in October to son Rahul. This despite the Congress Working Committee in a meeting after their defeat had asked Sonia Gandhi to take steps to rejuvenate and reorganise the party.

AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry, seen to be Rahul’s choice, is back in business after the Lok Sabha polls. He has been sending observers to the 4 states to bring back constituency wise reports and recommend suitable candidates to be fielded. Mistry had followed a similar strategy before the Lok Sabha polls.

Mistry, who is in charge of the Central Election Committee or the party’s parliamentary board that distributes tickets and puts its stamp of approval on it, is once again in charge of ticket selection for all the 4 states. Mistry is still in charge of Uttar Pradesh where the party won just 2 seats.

However, a senior Congress leader close to Mistry argued that the AICC general secretary had been assigned a duty by the party, which he is fulfilling. He said that Mistry had no role in the internal politics of the Congress party.

Another of Rahul’s general secretaries Mohan Prakash continues to be in charge of Maharashtra. There have been several complaints against Prakash. The party rank and file feel that outsiders should be removed from such key posts as they are neither familiar with the party or the state leaders, or the states they are heading. Mohan Prakash was earlier made the chairman of the screening committee for UP during the assembly polls, where the Congress won just 26 seats in a house of 400.

It is learnt that another of Rahul’s close team members C P Joshi is likely to be made screening committee chairman for Maharashtra. During the Lok Sabha polls the Congress won just 2 seats in the state, though it is considered a Congress bastion.

The writing on the wall is that Congress will be defeated comprehensively in all the four states.

Since the May 16 Lok Sabha poll verdict, the Congress president has failed to take any corrective steps, reshuffle the party or hold key leaders responsible for the party’s performance. She has made no changes in the chief ministers though there has been a demand from both Maharashtra and Haryana for a change in the top leadership. She has failed to even hold a chintan shivir to discuss the reasons for the defeat.

Sonia Gandhi has instead, once again, appointed an A K Antony headed committee to look into the reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat.

A senior Congress leader said that several leaders and workers were losing patience with the manner in which the party is being run. They feel if Rahul Gandhi continues to run the show with the same people who they hold responsible for the party’s defeat, it may be a signal for many of them to leave the party and a split may be imminent.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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