Rama Krishna Sangem
Congress party is heading towards one more split. The G-23 (Group of 23 rebel Congress leaders) who will meet on March 16, Wednesday in Delhi may initiate steps in this direction. The G-23 leaders aim to remove Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from the leadership even before the organizational elections in August this year.
These leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma among others are questioning the supremacy of Sonia and Rahul in the party affairs. Kapil Sibal’s call for making Congress for all, not just for Gandhis indicates to what’s coming up. Sibal’s remarks are almost on par with the line of BJP which bitterly questions “dynastic politics”.
Congress Working Committee meeting which was chaired by Sonia two days ago dealt this issue. Sonia remarked that if Gandhis were responsible for the present plight of the party, they are ready for any sacrifices. However, a majority of those who were present, turned down the offer and urged her continue till scheduled elections are held later this year.
Sections of media and these rebel leaders termed Sonia’s gesture as the usual “resignation drama’ of Gandhis. The hardened stand of G-23 leader (the number may go up at March 16 meeting) tells us that their battle is not yet over. They are calling for radical changes at the leadership – complete removal of Sonia and Rahul (of course, Priyanka) from the picture.
This will be stubbornly opposed by other loyalists – two CMs – Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh – and scores of ministers (in Maharashtra and Jharkhand) and MPs and MLAs etc. Leaders from Karnataka and Kerala have openly opposed to G-23’s moves to remove Gandhis from the helm of the party.
G-23 leaders know that they cannot openly defeat Sonia or Rahul in the organizational elections. So, they may force the Gandhis to withdraw from the contest or appointing one of them to the post of the party president. Of course, this will be opposed by the Gandhi loyalists who might field their own candidate.
The situation will create a sort of split in the party – like in 1969 and 78. The talk that G-23 leaders are backed by BJP is there. And, none of them including Azad, Sibal or Sharma – cannot win an election on their own. In fact, they are the prime beneficiaries of the high command culture started and nurtured by the “dynastic politics”, say the loyalists.
We don’t know whether these leaders will stay on and fight with Gandhis for two more years, thus weakening the party from within or force a split and claim that they are the real Congress or leave the party and join some other party – like Jyothiraditya Scindhia and Jatin Prasada. G-23 leaders’ moves will definitely put pressure on Gandhis head of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections.