The self-defeating Congresstext_fields
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a walking Yajna from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to unite the steps of the people in India, where hate and hatred are rampant. This innovative public interaction programme of a political party leader has already attracted world attention. For the past few weeks, the debates on Indian politics have been revolving around the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Their reactions show how much Rahul's journey on foot upsets the political opponents of the Congress. Even as the Congress says that such a trip has been planned without any parliamentary interest beyond party politics, the party is confident that the trip will help to understand as well as stir the nation's mind and refresh the rank and file ahead of the 2024 general elections. The journey, starting from Tamil Nadu and progressing through Kerala, vouches for this so far. Those within and outside the party alike believe that the organizational polls coming amid this journey will add more vigour to the party.
However, the internal strife within the party proves that Rahul Gandhi or the Congress, who are still continuing the journey churning the nation, have not been able to stir the minds of party leaders. The first shot came from Goa on the seventh day of the journey. Out of the total 11 MLAs of the Congress, eight, including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamath, who had a wavering loyalty, jumped the floor to the BJP. A week after that, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is contesting for the post of party president, delivered the next blow. The party had identified Gehlot as the presidential candidate of the Gandhi family. The leadership was relieved that if Sachin Pilot was given the vacant seat when Gehlot would be elevated to the position of President, he would get rid of two headaches with one shot. But for Gehlot, he seemed to want the best of both worlds. That is why the first thing he die was to confirm his majority in the Congress Legislative Party in Rajasthan so as not to lose the post of Chief Minister. That worked as proven by its success is the resignation of 82 MLAs of the party. Gehlot, who had earlier stood adamant that he would not quit the post of Chief Minister even if he became the party president, was tamed by Rahul reiterating the party's policy of one person one post. But, the insistence that Sachin Pilot, who was proposed as Chief Minister, would not be accepted, led to the MLAs' resignation. Thus with the solution itself becoming another problem, no wayout has been found yet, despite the Congress leadership's intervention.
The infighting that is the genetic disease of the Congress is disappointing to those inside and outside the party who watch with relief and excitement any move by the Opposition which can intercept the unopposed march of the BJP. Now is the time when political manoeuvres are gaining momentum ahead of the 2024 general elections. Janata Dal-U's Nitish Kumar, who has broken the BJP's shackles in Bihar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav met Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and discussed the opposition alliance and have convened a unity meeting. Although Congress did not participate in the meeting, Sonia Gandhi promised to discuss the collective moves, including an electoral alliance, after the new President was in office. The move led by Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhara Rao runs parallel to this. In this way, amid the efforts to breath new life to the Opposition are accelerating, comes the unusual sight of the soil being drained away under the feet of Congress. The irony is that the person contesting for the post of president who is supposed to lead the party forward, is trying to reap the benefits of group politics in his own home.
Congress is in a situation having to reconsider Gehlot's very candidature after the mishap of the central observers of the party being sent back. Speculations are also rife whether Rahul will have to enter the scene as an unavoidable step, just as Sonia had to be roped in to replace Sitaram Kesari in the past. If the issue is not resolved, no matter how, things will come to Congress Chhodo (Leave Congress) before Bharat Jodo can achieve its goal, as opponents taunt - especially when the BJP is on the prowl for such an opportunity.