The great divide in the Grand Old Party
The great divide in the Grand Old Party, The Congress party and chaos are two sides of the same coin. After the humiliation of poll debacles, the Grand Old Party is reeling under a great divide.
Even as rebellion brews in Congress, leaders speak in different voices about Rahul Gandhi taking over reins
New Delhi: The Congress party and chaos are two sides of the same coin. After the humiliation of poll debacles, the Grand Old Party is reeling under a great divide.
The rudderless party, which holds on to the Gandhi family like a limpet, doesn’t seem to be anywhere near reorganising itself. Rather, the state units are in a shambles, rebellion is brewing in Tamil Nadu and Congress leaders are speaking in different voices.
All India Congress Committee general secretary Digvijaya Singh stirred up a fresh controversy by saying that the time had come for vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take charge of the party from his mother Sonia Gandhi. “Rahul should take over as party president as it is the need of the hour,” he said. Singh, who is no stranger to controversies, hastened to add that this was his personal assessment. “The country has become younger, and all of us who have been in the party for 35 to 50 years should make way for the younger generation,” Singh told Mail Today.
Several other senior Congress leaders have reportedly met Rahul in recent days and suggested that he should take over the party’s leadership. However, the suggestion that Rahul should take charge was immediately rejected by the old guard of the party. Makhanlal Fotedar, a senior Congress leader and former Union minister who is considered close to the Gandhi family, said there was no need for a change at the top.
“Rahul Gandhi is already playing a big role... it is more than that of the party president. The Congress will be revived again in the upcoming elections. It will return to power,” Fotedar told Mail Today.
He also hinted that Singh made the remarks about a larger role for Rahul because of personal interests.
“Such things should not be said in public. Sonia is our president and will remain so,” he added.
Too many personal views
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said Singh’s remarks reflected his personal views and not the party’s position.
“Whatever Digvijaya Singh has said is his personal view. The Congress has always taken a collective view when it comes to strengthening of the organisation or the interest of the country.”
Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu Congress seems to be heading for a split. On Saturday, former Union Minister GK Vasan dropped hints about breaking away to revive the erstwhile Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) even as a fresh row erupted over Rahul Gandhi’s role in the party.
Vasan, whose father GK Moopanar had floated the TMC in Tamil Nadu in 1996, was angered by the decision of the top leadership of the Congress to replace state unit chief BS Gnanadesikan with EVKS Elangovan.
“I will announce my next plan of action on November 3,” Vasan told reporters in Chennai after consultations with his supporters.
But Vasan raised the “Valamana Tamilagam, Valimayana Bharatham” (prosperous Tamil Nadu, vibrant India) slogan that was coined by his father, leaving few doubts of his intentions.
“In Tamil Nadu, the (Congress) can be strengthened only by invoking the legacy of Kamaraj and Moopanar,” Vasan said in a reference to the tussle with the top leadership of the party on whether the images of Congress icons K. Kamaraj and Moopanar could be used on membership cards.
The problems of the Tamil Nadu chapter of the Congress erupted after Elangovan was appointed as new president Tamil Nadu Congress Committee after the party accepted the resignation of Gnanadesikan. Gnanadesikan, who quit as he was upset over his ‘neglect’ by the party’s top leadership, was backed by Vasan. Gnanadesikan had alleged that the Congress’s leadership in Delhi had not allowed them to use images of Kamaraj and Moopanar in the membership cards.
The party has denied this. Vasan alleged that the AICC had ignored the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee even after the debacle in the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress has just five MLAs in the 235-member state Assembly. The party could not win a single seat out of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the general election.
Symptoms of decay
According to political observers, all of these are symptoms of a decadent party which has been torpedoed by the rebels and leaders who have no interest in revitalising the party.
In contrast to Bharatiya Janata Party which is aiming to be as diverse as possible, the Congress leadership is clinging on to a family that is presiding over the ruins, observers added.
While the Gandhis remain ensconced amid a coterie of henchmen, the Congress Titanic is sinking.