The big guns of Congress are trying to get a foothold in troubled politics, but can they?
Sonia Gandhi tried to resolve differences between the higher ranks of the party during the CWC meeting | PTI / file
The belligerent children of the big old party are supposed to get together again at some point after some efforts in the past. The last of them is the meeting of superiors of Congress on Saturday (October 16).
But the question is, where should the party go? Or will Congress be better positioned in the future than it has been in the last seven years or since Congress lost power in the center and in some states too?
But first, let’s take a look at the latest party enclave. In a nearly five-hour meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) chaired by Interim President Sonia Gandhi, attempts were made not only to clarify differences between the higher ranks of the party, but also to find a way out of the party’s recent listlessness.
Sonia, who has been running the party for two decades, assured her co-workers that she would love to hold hands and lend ears. “I have always valued openness. You don’t have to talk to me through the media. So let’s all have a free and honest discussion. But what should be communicated outside the four walls of this room is the collective decision of the CWC, ”she said.
This and her other remarks at the CWC indicate the communication gap with which the party is being persecuted. So much so that a group of 23 high-ranking congressional leaders had to write them a letter to express their concern over the lack of a full-time party leader and the resulting indecision and limbo the party suffered as a result.
After the group, known as the G-23, wrote the controversial letter and released it to the press in August last year, a number of CWC meetings took place. But the issues it raised were never fully resolved. And it has been since a timetable for the election of a regular President of Congress was not announced by elections or consensus.
So at last weekend’s CWC meeting the plan was worked out to start a membership campaign and hold organizational elections from office holders at block level to party presidents and CWC members by September next year.
Also read: I am a “full-time and practical Congress President,” Sonia Gandhi told CWC
Previously, the party’s top post had become vacant after Rahul Gandhi resigned after the crushing defeat he-led Congress suffered in the 2019 general election.
Sonia Gandhi had to step in and take over the office of interim president to save the party from ruin. The party’s luck did not go up, however, and Congress suffered a number of setbacks in polls that were subsequently held for several state parliaments.
With this in mind, the CWC meeting took place on October 16, when, as on previous occasions, several congressional leaders urged Rahul to take the reins of the party.
Rahul only gave in a little, however, saying that he “would certainly think about it” and did not immediately agree to reverse his earlier decision and take command of the party.
At the end of the meeting, a schedule for the party elections was announced, stating that Sonia will run Congress for another year or so or until Rahul is able to decide on his return to the top party post.
Rahul Gandhi dives with Priyanka. on
But Rahul made some significant remarks to the CWC members and invitees. These should underscore the need to return to and revive the party’s original and undiluted ethos and ideology, for only holding on to them could enable the party to now lead the country out of the “extraordinary challenges” that have come . According to party insiders, his remarks were indeed “moving”. He indicated that he had thoughts that led him to prefer selfless struggle to convenience, purposefulness over expediency, and sacrifice to compromise in accordance with the traditions of the Congress Party.
Rahul is said to have been listened to with greater attention at the CWC this time around than on previous occasions, when party fans mostly met virtually to avoid physical closeness in light of COVID guidelines.
The old hands of the party believe that this may well remove any signs of dissent in the party and eventually help the Gandhis bring together the disparate views within the party on today’s angry politics and the ways to fight them Bring level.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
The assessment by the CWC is that Rahul’s idealism is now viewed with more respect by party leaders than before. Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who had signed the G-23 letter, reiterated that they were only looking for clarity without opposing the guidance.
Be that as it may, the more important fact is that the Gandhi siblings have recently taken on a more intimate tone than before, not only in party meetings, but also in public. The latter is also becoming more consistent than before.
Both Rahul and Priyanka are more visible in the open or public arena after a long hiatus where the COVID lockdown has severely restricted their movement. Priyanka and Rahul’s recent visit to Lakhimpur Kheri, amid fierce opposition from the Uttar Pradesh government to refuse them the limelight (according to congressional allegations) after an unfortunate incident involving the son of a BJP minister centered both on public attention the Gandhis as well as the Congress.
Soon, Priyanka Gandhi was holding a crowded rally in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. Priyanka’s few other Varanasi-like events are scheduled for later this month in other locations in UP.
However, it is a debatable question whether these efforts will change the public mood in favor of Congress so that it wins enough seats to make a name for itself in the UP, or whether it will split the opposition parties’ votes to help the BJP If Congress to one of the polls alone or without an understanding with the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party?
Alliances and Associations
But with Sonia at the helm of Congress, there may well be the option of forming an alliance with non-BJP parties either before or after the poll, depending on how the situation in the polling states develops.
Significantly, at the CWC meeting, the Congress President remarked: “I have dealt with like-minded political parties on a regular basis. We made joint statements on national issues and agreed our strategy in Parliament. “
This may well have the prospect of a further understanding with other parties in the future. This is all the more true since Sonia had a virtual interaction with the leaders of other parties in August this year, in which she asked them to organize joint protests against the policies of the BJP government, which they opposed.
Also read: Rahul pulls a Vajpayee, drives a tractor to Parliament to protest against the agricultural laws
Apart from these steps, Congress has recently tried to become more acceptable to the socially disadvantaged sections. Punjab Dalit Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was among those attending the CWC meeting on Saturday.
Rahul announced the exchange with Channi on the phone to inform him that he would become Chief Minister. This caused Channi to collapse because he would never have thought it possible because of his caste. It is noteworthy that two other Prime Ministers of Congress in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh also come from backward castes.
This kind of social positioning is rather new for the oldest party in the country, although it remains to be seen to what extent these and other steps of the Congress to regain lost ground will be successful.
It is clear, however, that the dissenting voices in the party are lulled and the efforts that began long before the CWC meeting of some selected congress leaders are finally showing positive results.
(The author is an independent journalist based in Delhi and NCR).
(The federal government seeks to represent views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas, or opinions in the articles are from the author and do not reflect the views of the federal government.)