Congress must set its house in order

Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi ( File Pic)
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Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi ( File Pic)

Highlights

In March this year, senior Congress leader P C Chacko quit the party alleging “groupism” in the Kerala unit. Chacko said there was no Congress in the state — only Congress (I) and Congress (A). Party members responded somewhat coldly to his quitting but admitted that Chacko was right about groupism.

In March this year, senior Congress leader P C Chacko quit the party alleging "groupism" in the Kerala unit. Chacko said there was no Congress in the state — only Congress (I) and Congress (A). Party members responded somewhat coldly to his quitting but admitted that Chacko was right about groupism.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel is also embroiled in a tussle with T S Singh Deo and the party High Command had to step in to handle the crisis. Baghel said he would step down the moment either Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi asked him to do so. Rotational Chief Ministership also popped up during the deliberations. Deo's supporters seek it as they don't see eye to eye with Baghel. It will lead to instability, the latter's supporters say. The problem here arose as Baghel's tenure has crossed a two-and-a-half-years mark. His rival insisted on a deadline for the change of power, of two months.

The crisis in Chhattisgarh Congress escalated at a time when the Punjab unit has been witnessing intense infighting between CM Amarinder Singh and PPCC president Sidhu ahead of the Assembly elections in 2022. Amid the debilitating situation with both factions at loggerheads, the in-charge of Congress affairs in Punjab, Harish Rawat, has made it clear that Congress will contest the election under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh. This assumes significance as internal conflict is raging in the Punjab Congress.

The fresh row resulted after four ministers – Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi – held a meeting with around two dozen legislators recently in Chandigarh and sought replacement of the Chief Minister, saying they had "lost faith in him" over the issue of unfulfilled promises. But, Sidhu and his maverick supporters have been questioning the ability of the CM in honouring the unfulfilled poll promises such as delay in justice in the desecration of a religious text in 2015, arrest of "big fish" involved in drug rackets and scrapping power purchase agreements. Sidhu, of late, has acquired some questionable credentials, meeting Pakistan's Bajwa, hailing him and Pakistani leaders as friends during his visit to Pakistan, despite the objections raised by Capt Amarinder Singh.

All this may sound alright to any Congress leader who is well-versed with the style of his or her party high command. It is ironic that unlike in other parties, it is the high command itself that encourages groupism in the party. 'United family and divided party' is the motto of the Gandhi-Nehru family and Rahul Gandhi scrupulously follows the dictum. The top leadership (read just the family) ensures that no leader grows outside the groups.

Life is hell in Congress if one is not aligned to a particular group. There is also this practice of selecting the CMs from a group only to make his rival the PCC chief. Despite all this trouble back home, Sonia Gandhi is seeking to unite the Opposition against the BJP. When does she realise that the time is for a 'United Congress Front'? Set the house in order before attempting to unite the Opposition, Soniaji!

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