Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 29 November 2022 7.58 PM IST

Leadership woes in Congress


The Indian National Congress is facing a grave crisis without a full-fledged working president for the past three years. Disaster struck unexpectedly when the party finally began the process to elect a formal president. The leadership also had the names of the contenders ready. The party had decided to appoint a senior leader and Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot as the new president. When the deliberations were going on, Ashok Gehlot, put forward demands, that have now swayed the party.

The main demand of Gehlot is to hold on to the post of Chief Minister even when he is elected party president. However, the party leadership stood firm on its decision of ‘one person one position'. The High Command said that rules were rules and they cannot be changed for the veteran leader. Gehlot had to accept this decision reluctantly.

However, on the day of submitting nominations began, Ashok Gehlot, surprised party leadership and members, alike, by coming up with new pressure tactics. To prevent his rival, Sachin Pilot, from becoming his successor, his loyalists rebelled when a meeting of the legislative party members was called. Ninety-seven MLAs supporting Gehlot said that they would resign from their MLA post.

When the High Command came to know that Gehlot was behind the revolt, it quickly decided that he must not become party president. This led the leadership to zero in on Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath, and Mallikarjun Kharge.

Reports say that Kamal Nath has already informed the High Command of his disinterest to contest the election to the top post. Though Shashi Tharoor, has been speaking out about his interest in becoming a contender, the leadership seems to have ignored it.

As the High Command needs someone who is servile to it, the next president will be surely someone from the loyalist camp. In spite of a lot of talk of democracy, the fact is that someone from the Nehru family had led the party for decades. Only the person proposed by the Nehru family will finally be appointed President of the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi has been trying to strengthen the party from the outside, ever since he threw away the post of President, three years ago. However, the majority of Congress members want Rahul Gandhi to return as party president. This is the only way out for a party facing a leadership crisis.

However, Rahul Gandhi still remains adamant about his decision not to become president. No one knows exactly why the Gandhi scion is refusing to intervene in the matter and try to resolve it.

It is clear beyond doubt that the happenings in Rajasthan were scripted by Ashok Gehlot. The state will be facing Assembly elections next year. It is one of the only two states where the Congress party is in power. Already, fears have risen that Congress might lose the government due to the rebel movement.

The role of the High Command in making things worse in Rajasthan is not small. It should have taken timely decisions to avert rebel movements like these. It is really a pity to see Congress searching for a subservient person even at the last moment when a strong president is the need of the hour.

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