G-23: Seek share, not change

Congress G-23 leaders

Rama Krishna Sangem

The crisis that erupted in the Congress party after its poor show in 5 state assembly elections has blown over, for now. Once appeared to lead to a split in the party, the situation is now just a bargaining battle – between the G 23 leaders and the high command led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There will be some small changes in the organisation to accommodate the demands of these “change seekers”.

The “routine visit” by G-23 leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to 10 Jan Path last week indicated many things. That Azad has now backed out of his rebel role which his colleagues Kapil Sibal and others sought. Sonia has agreed to accommodate Azad as in charge of Karnataka where Congress has chances of coming to power early next year (Of course, there are other offers to Azad which we will discuss later). L

Initially, Kapil Sibal and a few within the G -23 demanded that Gandhis should step down from the leadership of Congress and hand over the organisation to “others” (non-Gandhis). After a few days later, they suggested that Rahul can be the leader Congress in Lok Sabha, but the president post can be given to someone else.

B-Form Culture

Now, these rebel leaders are only talking about “collective leadership” means a say in the party affairs – like appointment of in charge general secretaries and in allotment of tickets to party candidates in the poll bound states and in future for MP elections too. We know, that in Congress culture, getting a B Form (ticket) involves lot many behind the scene pulls and pressures, besides huge bribes.

Only those who can please the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) presidents and in charge general secretaries or secretaries will get a ticket to contest the elections. In states like Telangana, aspirants are willing to pay more than a Rs 2 crore for a ticket, that too months in advance. So, these organisational posts are in great demand in Congress. If the party comes to power, they call the shots.

Sonia Stands Strong

The reason for G-23 leaders backing off from the confrontation with the high command is Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to heed to their pressure tactics. Sonia knows the real strength of leaders like Kapil Sibal on the ground. For that matter, even Azad is a beneficiary of this general secretaries culture, patronized by the high command for the last several decades. He is known for his loyalties to Gandhis.

Leaders like Shashi Tharoor and Bhupender Hooda are not exactly rebels. They want to protect their contacts everywhere. Now that Sonia and Rahul are strong, such leaders will be with them. The resolutions passed by PCC of Telangana supporting Sonia, Rahul has put off G-23 leaders. Most of Karnataka leaders are with Sonia, Rahul.

Even in UP, there is none other than Priyanka to work for Congress. That is the reason, persons like Khurshid Alam Khan are siding with Gandhis. A majority of Congress leaders known well that without Gandhis at the helm, the party cannot survive. No one in public recognizes a Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress leader in Rajya Sabha) or an Adhir  Ranjan Chowdhury (leader in Lok Sabha).

Test for Rebels

Even if an outsider like Sitaram Kesri becomes Congress president, it may be a stop gap arrangement till Gandhis take over again. If persons like Kapil Sibal or Azad take over as the party president, Congress may well become another CPI, a political obscurity.Anyway, Congress organisational elections will be held in a few months, so these rebel leaders can test their strength.

These factors made G-23 leaders realize their limited scope of maneuverability in the party in the present circumstances. We don’t know how things will unfold if Congress fails in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisghar and Telangana in the coming months, before 2024 LS elections. Until then, Gandhis will be the party high command.


Also Read:

G-23 may force Congress split


Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

2 thoughts on “G-23: Seek share, not change

  1. Good write up!

    The infight in every state is weakening the Congress.
    These states have good gross route karyakartas but high command is not pitching in time and not taking right decision.
    Madhyapradesh and Punjab is classical example.
    Pls note that BJP is not very great in governance and their fulfilment of poll promises failed and voters doesn’t have option they have to chose best out of worst.
    Unless there is no leadership change at the top and it is difficult for congress to comeback in power.

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Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at excelindiaweb123@gmail.com