You thought the return of Sonia Gandhi as Congress chief would help end the party’s existentialist crisis? Well, it didn’t. In state after state, Congress leaders are at each other’s throats.
Senior leaders openly speak at cross-purposes, sowing confusion in party ranks, and generally creating an impression of the Congress being a headless chicken fluttering around aimlessly in no particular direction. We will come to some of the more sharp barbs of the state satraps against their rivals presently.
Let us first refer to what actually constitutes a strong indictment of the leadership of Rahul Gandhi as party chief. Sandeep Dikshit, son of the former three-term Delhi Congress Chief Minister, the late Shiela Dikshit, in a letter to the party’s Delhi in-charge P C Chacko has blamed him for the sudden death of his mother.
And threatened to lodge a criminal complaint for the same. Sandeep, it should be noted, has been a two-term member of the Lok Sabha from a constituency in Delhi.
Five of Shiela’s loyalists followed up her son’s vitriolic attack by actually disclosing the contents of the ‘personal letter’ he had written to Chacko.
The differences between senior Dikshit and Chacko were public knowledge. The Delhi in-charge, who enjoyed the confidence of Rahul, on several occasions publicly humiliated her.
After the rout of the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll when she undertook to revamp the party, appointing fresh faces at the district and mohalla levels as Delhi unit chief, Chacko in a show of superiority overnight reversed her decision en bloc.
A few members of the anti-Chacko faction went to the extent of leveling corruption charges against him. However, the resignation of Rahul as party chief seemed to have cut Chacko to size. He no longer enjoys a virtual veto which he had over the affairs of the Delhi unit so long as Rahul was the party chief.
How the leadership will put a lid over this latest headache remains to be seen. But in all likelihood Chacko’s removal is almost certain. Now come to the bigger states.
In Madhya Pradesh, one of the key states where the Congress is fortunate to be in power because the Modi-Shah duo does not want to destabilize the state government, knives were out against Kamal Nath from the day he beat Jyotiraditya Scindia to the chief minister’s post.
Former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, who had backed Nath against Scindia for CM’s post, has since taken to twist his arm in order to run the state administration through remote control.
And young Scindia, who had never shown a rebellious streak in him before, has become emboldened, especially after the parliamentary debacle, not missing an opportunity to twist the knife ever a bit little more into Nath’s arm than on the previous occasion.
Last Friday, he provided grist to the opposition mill, accusing the Nath Government of failing to fulfill election-eve promises. In particular, he said farmers’ loans up to two lakh rupees were to be written off immediately after coming to power
Months later, this has not been done. Only loans up to fifty thousand rupees have been waived, Scindia claimed. A defensive administration responded, claiming the list of those who had taken loans of two lakh rupees was being drawn and it would be taken up for action very soon.
It is notable that Scindia, in a clear contradiction of the party’s official position on the deletion of Article 370, had publicly welcomed the abrogation and thanked the government for so doing.
On the other hand, Singh, whose heart bleeds for ‘Osamajee’ and the ‘martyrs of the fake Batla House encounter’ is now concerned with the poor state of the ‘gau mata’.
In a tweet he taunted the state government that while on way back from Indore to Bhopal the other day he was pained to see abandoned cows moving about on the highway.
Such touching faith in the well-being of ‘gau-mata’ ought to win the admiration of the Sangh parivar. Anyway, knowing how fragile his chief ministerial ~gaddi~ is, Nath tweeted a response promptly, explaining how in the monsoon season cows stray into firm road surfaces to avoid muddy farm fields.
Singh was duly obliged, advising the CM to build the proposed cow shelters on a war-footing to deny the BJP an emotional plank. But make no mistake about it. Behind the to-and-fro over cow protection, it is the three-way power struggle that is playing out in Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, space does not allow us to detail the tug-of-war in Rajasthan where Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy, Sachin Pilot, are constantly pulling each other down publicly.
Just one question then: In her second coming as party chief, do once- vegetative Congressmen no longer fear her? Look at Mumbai Congress as well. If you cannot win us elections, why should we bother about you? It is as simple as it seems to get for our Congress netas.