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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Marred By Defections And Drift, Is Congress Taking Baby Steps To Revive Itself?

Leadership issues abound in Congress even as men like Shashi Tharoor want top party positions opened for elections

Marred By Defections And Drift, Is Congress Taking Baby Steps To Revive Itself?
First Family | Photograph by PTI
Marred By Defections And Drift, Is Congress Taking Baby Steps To Revive Itself?
outlookindia.com
2020-08-03T13:13:14+05:30

For a party relentlessly criticised by insiders, sympathisers and rivals alike for its organisational inertia and inability to spell out a cogent alternative politics, there seems to be much going on in the Congress that, for reasons inexplicable, rarely enters popular discourse. The Congress story—particularly since Rahul Gandhi abdicated its presidency last year and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, came back as interim chief—largely revolves around a few familiar themes. The party’s ineptness at countering the anti-Congress sentiment persistently fanned by the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine, its recurring electoral debacles and failure to keep the flock together in a handful of states it won in recent years, and a seemingly perpetual aspirational flux that keeps veterans and juniors or even contemporaries at loggerheads is heard on loop.

Since March, the Congress has lost its government to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and is on the edge in Rajasthan, where CM Ashok Gehlot has been putt­ing all his political skills, gathered over a career of 46 years, to stall Sachin Pilot and the BJP from toppling his regime. The threat to both governments came not just from the BJP, which has proven its mastery in the art of topp­ling elected governments, but also from its own leaders. Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia were once touted as NextGen leaders of the Congress on whom Rahul could rely to strengthen the party. Today, one has rep­ortedly made up his mind to sever ties with the Congress, and the other has joined the BJP.

In Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, where the Congress is in power either on its own or in an alliance, the threat of rebellions (particularly in Punjab against CM Amarinder Singh or in Chhattisgarh against CM Bhupesh Baghel) and defections has been a recurring one. Calls for resolving the party’s...

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