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New challenges before Congress!

By Vijay Darda | 25-10-2022

Mallikarjun Kharge is a capable leader but it is not easy to heal the ailing Congress

Vijay Darda

Of course, the election in Congress is a big political development and undoubtedly, all credit goes to the G-23 leaders. Had they not raised the issue, not spoken harshly, not discussed it and not expressed displeasure, this election would not have been possible. For, the internal caucus always dominates in Congress. In fact, the caucus has been dominating in every era. It was a very difficult task to outwit the caucus and ensure election. But the G-23 leaders raised their voice because every leader was fed up. All these leaders were in a mood to sacrifice themselves to save Congress. The G-23 leaders made it absolutely clear that Congress is not doing its work properly, due to which democracy is in danger today. Only Congress has the calibre to emerge as an alternative to the BJP. Even in the present situation, Congress has a 19 per cent vote bank. It is necessary to bring Congress into the mainstream. We have to establish democracy within the Congress and show that there is democracy in our party. A party is not confined inside a house. Internal elections have been a tradition of the Congress. Elections were held during Gandhiji’s time; Nehruji, Indiraji and Rajiv Gandhi too maintained this tradition. In the present era, we have to declare that democracy is alive in Congress. The interim president can be for two, three or four months. This cannot go on for years. So there has to be an election. The G-23 leaders also made it clear that we are not the people who oppose Congress as is being projected by the vested interests. We are not against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi.

The leaders pointed out to Soniaji the irony that even the senior leaders of stature are not able to meet her. They are not able to meet Rahulji either. When a call is made, the person at the other end asks, Ghulam Nabi, who?

The G-23 leaders pointed out that we are losing election after election, but the issue is not being discussed. What happened in Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab? Why did it happen? Why did we lose in our strongholds? Why are the senior and mighty leaders leaving us too? On this, Soniaji said there should be a brainstorming session on these issues because she believes deeply in democratic traditions. In the ‘Chintan Shivir’ that took place in Jaipur, the caucus put aside the brainstorming and proposed the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. The idea of the brainstorming was sidelined because had it been allowed, the tip of the needle would have turned towards Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. So, the subject itself was changed deliberately. The G-23 leaders were bewildered that Rahul Gandhi was not ready to accept any responsibility. When the opportunity came, he did not become the Prime Minister, neither became the leader of the Opposition nor accepted the post of party president. Even in the Congress Working Committee meeting, Rahul Gandhi said the election was not lost because of him! The party lost the election because of all the leaders. For, when he gave the slogan about the Prime Minister, the party leaders did not agree with the ‘word’ he used! He also asked the party leaders to raise their hands and tell him how many of them used his ‘word’. Senior leaders at that time were of the firm opinion that the Prime Minister does not belong to any party but to the country and ‘such a word’ should not be used for him.

The G-23 leaders either exhausted themselves or parted ways. But Shashi Tharoor should be appreciated for keeping up the pressure. It is because of him that the election was held. However, everyone knew that it was not possible to elect Shashi Tharoor as many obstacles were placed in his path. If he had become the party president, he would have implemented his agenda. He would have taken Congress forward with new confidence and new hope. He would have proved to be an authoritative president.

Quite surprisingly, even the G-23 leaders did not support Shashi Tharoor. The name of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot first emerged for the post of Congress president. But the way Ajay Maken tried to make Sachin Pilot the chief minister by bringing a one-line proposal, the MLAs got angry. They said how can we accept the person who had agreed to become the chief minister by joining hands with the BJP? After that, Mukul Wasnik, Prithviraj Chavan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda were asked but they refused. Then Digvijaya Singh’s name was discussed but dropped later. Finally, Kharge sahab contested and won the election. Another important thing is that when the Congress election was held, a good atmosphere was being created about the Congress in the country. The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has created a great environment for Congress. If these two events had been held at different times, Congress would certainly have benefited more. Though the route for the yatra was decided with the help of Google, it would have been more fruitful if it was prepared with the help of experts.

Surely Kharge sahab is a true Congressman. He owes allegiance to Congress ideology. He comes from a backward class but everyone has their time. He is currently over 80 years old. Surely he will not be able to do the kind of running around that is needed today. There is a question in the minds of Congress workers as to how successful Kharge sahab will be in breathing life into the party! Only time will tell as there will be many power centres in the party. History tells us that whether it was Narasimha Rao or Sitaram Kesari, no one was allowed to succeed. Let’s still believe that Kharge sahab gets enough support and strength to tackle the challenges and show some magic in 2024!

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