Monday, Aug 15, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×

Enter Sonia. Exit Sonia. Enter Rahul, Exit Rahul. Enter Sonia... The Congress Game Of Thrones

Sonia Gandhi once again has the onerous task of resurrecting Congress as a serious political heavyweight but the biggest hurdle is the baggage of inexperienced young leaders

Top Troika Photograph by Jitender Gupta

Second comings don’t necessarily guarantee a revival of past glory. On August 10, frustrated by Rahul Gandhi’s obduracy on stepping down as party president, the old guard of the Congress manoeuvered an ailing and semi-retired Sonia Gandhi back as interim chief. The 72-year-old matriarch of India’s ‘grand old party’ was projected as the helping hand that would pull the Congress out of its quicksand of political ignominy. Nearly three months on, assembly poll results for Maharashtra and Haryana show that despite its failure in containing a progressively worsening economic crisis, the BJP’s fortunes haven’t dipped significantly, while the Congress’s revival seems wobbly, at best.

“For Sonia, this is déjà vu. She once again finds herself in the unenviable position of rebuilding a completely gutted orga­nisation; this time handed to her by her son,” a senior party MP tells Outlook. Back in 1998, Congress warhorses like N.D. Tiwari, Arjun Singh, K. Natwar Singh, Sharad Pawar and Ghulam Nabi Azad had scripted the unceremonious exit of Sitaram Kesri from the Congress presidency. The party had lost two successive Lok Sabha polls and a string of assembly elections back then, like it has since 2014. Sonia was anointed Congress president on March 6, 1998—just a fortnight after the party lost the general elections.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement