Too many power centres are spoiling the broth in the Congress.
NEW DELHI: Former AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s significant role in the overwhelming mandate to the Congress in Karnataka cannot be overlooked. The Gandhi scion has proved to have grown into a leader having a sound understanding of politics.
But the Congress missed an opportunity to raise Rahul Gandhi’s stature further by not attributing the success in breaking the deadlock over CM post to him. The party sent out the message that Sonia Gandhi managed to get D.K. Shivakumar to agree to allow Siddaramaiah to be CM.
But the question of groupism in Karnataka Congress remains, given the difficulty that the high command faced while choosing the CM. The Congress is already grappling with faction fighting in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and other states. The party is witnessing massive infighting in various states even when there are four power centres at the central level. The message is clear that the presence of more power centres spells more troubles for the party. The Congress remained the most powerful party of India as long as Sonia Gandhi was the only power centre. But the party weakened after more power centres emerged. Rahul Gandhi’s activeness in the party grew in 2013. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also got active in 2014 after which the party’s graph declined. Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge and AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal are also power centres of the party.
There was a massive tussle between the camps of Siddaramaiah and D.K. Shivakumar in Karnataka. But the party could not manage to resolve the issues. Now after Congress’ win there, the situation worsened so much so that all the power centres had to rush to persuade them. But the message was sent out that D.K. relented only after Sonia Gandhi spoke to him over phone. Rahul Gandhi should have been given the credit instead. Undoubtedly, Rahul Gandhi gave strength to the party by dint of his hard work. Now, the party’s growth will depend on Rahul Gandhi’s stature. So, the Congress should use every opportunity to give more political strength to Rahul Gandhi. The party’s politics should now revolve around Rahul Gandhi only. The Gandhi scion has proved that he is not a part-time politician. Now, the Congress has a challenge to repeat Karnataka poll results in other states as well. It is clear that the BJP used to take advantage of the Congress’ internal weaknesses. Now, the grand old party’s strength will be tested in Hindi belt states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The party has to show its power in another southern state-Telangana. Barring Telangana, Congress is performing well in other states.
There is no internal fight in Madhya Pradesh as Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are working in unison. It is the same state where the infighting had cost the Congress dearly. Jyotiraditya Scindia along with his supporters had left the party following which its government fell. In Chhattisgarh, CM Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo have been at loggerheads. Baghel was once in crisis but he sailed through it because a majority of MLAs were in his support. But Rajasthan has always been on the boil for which the high command is also responsible.
The leadership continued to trust Sachin Pilot who tried to allegedly topple the Congress’ government there. It harmed the party in Rajasthan. Pilot is on the streets regardless of high command’s objections in the election year. This is the scene at a time when Congress is in a position to repeat its government due to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s schemes. These schemes and the Rajasthan model of development helped Congress in Karnataka as well. The OPS also helped Congress in Himachal Pradesh. Surprisingly, the high command is still silent on the rebellious activities in Rajasthan. The state polls this year will impact the parliamentary poll results next year.
If the BJP wins the Lok Sabha polls next year, it will start looking for the “weak points” of the Congress in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka so as to allegedly dent its government there. If Rahul Gandhi remains the only powerful centre of the Congress, things will improve. Rahul’s authority in Congress is definitely quite strong, but Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also get involved when it comes to taking key decisions. If only Mallikarjuna Kharge and Rahul Gandhi are in commanding positions in the Congress, the factionalism can be controlled in all states.