Congress’ current situation in Rajasthan is hopeless. Many hoped that Mallikarjun Kharge, the newly elected president of the Congress, would use his newfound authority to swiftly resolve the issue. Regrettably, as Congress president, he has taken a stand of indifference on the Rajasthan issue until the Gandhi family takes it up. The continuation of the conflict demonstrates that Kharge is not interested in reviving the Congress and has no control over the situation. The Rajasthan crisis is not recent, but the Congress never felt the need to put an end to it, even though the state’s assembly election is just months away.
The new president of the Congress is Kharge, and the general idea was to remove the Gandhi family from power. However, little has changed within the Congress as the party continues to abstain from crucial elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. In addition, there are no reports of the party president holding rallies, roadshows, or walking with the citizens of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh during the election campaign. Between his Bharat Jodo Yatra, the only newsworthy event was when Rahul Gandhi spoke at rallies in Gujarat. It doesn’t matter how the Congress elects its new president, the party is still all about Gandhis.
Only two states, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, are currently governed by the Congress. Even though the election in Rajasthan is a few months away, the party has shamefully allowed the entire political crisis to develop since the government was first established. In a recent attack, Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot referred to Sachin Pilot’s leadership as “gaddar”. This statement is totally unacceptable, especially coming from a senior Congressman and accomplished minister of state like Gehlot. However, knowing what pushed Gehlot over the edge into his current state of annoyance is also crucial. It’s the inability of the Congress to make decisions.
Sachin Pilot, then deputy chief minister, rebelled against Gehlot in 2020, but the Congress did not condemn him. Thanks to Gehlot’s political experience, credibility, and acceptance, Priyanka Gandhi and Ahmed Patel found a way to resolve their differences. Sachin Pilot’s actions were not condemned by then Congress president Sonia Gandhi or any of the other Gandhis. He and a handful of his top confidants were the only ones removed from the ministry. The party then promised that a Cabinet reshuffle would happen eventually, making room for the Pilot section. This was the party’s attempt to resolve the issues at hand. The Congress attempted to postpone the cabinet reshuffle for as long as possible but eventually gave in to the growing sense that events were spinning out of control. However, it was obvious to all onlookers that Sachin Pilot is not pleased with the slight modifications. He aspired to be the CM.
It would be unfair to say that the party did nothing to Sachin Pilot because he defied the policy. The Gehlot camp was protesting against Pilot and trying to push the high command to follow their will, so the legislative party meeting in September was cancelled despite the presence of AICC observers. It is unprecedented in the Congress. However, the party did not take any action against Gehlot other than his decision not to run for president of Congress, and she did not seem particularly enthusiastic about engaging in conflict either.
Any politically astute person can see that this is a sign of complete anarchy and a willingness to let a crisis fester and boil over. Everyone would agree that, in their daily lives, they make it a priority to deal with any problems that arise as soon as possible, both from a financial and a mental health perspective. Unfortunately, the Congress prevails where neither the common people’s ideas nor the other political parties do.
Before the Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot’s supporters are desperate for a resolution on the current crisis. If there is no timeline for resolving this issue, then the Pilot camp believes he will never have the opportunity to become chief minister. The Ashok Gehlot camp is currently maintaining silence over the crisis.
Ajay Maken, the AICC observer for Rajasthan, resigned from his position last week. Maken was regarded as a close friend of the Gandhi family. Within Congress, there is a belief that his resignation was merely a ploy to push the issue to the Gandhis. This entire spectacle of AICC observers, who do nothing but sit in states they know nothing about and cause chaos within organisations, is another reason why the Congress is losing its credibility.
A section of Congress leaders believes that the entire drama is taking place in anticipation of Rahul Gandhi’s arrival in Rajasthan. The Bharat Jodo Yatra in the desert state will take place in the first week of December. They believe that Rahul will resolve the issue internally during this leg of the yatra, and then Kharge will make it official. In this manner, the party hopes to resolve the issue, but Rahul Gandhi will appear as the new problem solver, while Kharge will serve as the party’s official leader.
Congress insiders and some liberals believe that the party has a grand old revival plan and that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is the beginning of the plan’s implementation. However, the Congress allows such conflicts to fester in the few states they control and leaves them untouched until election time. This identical strategy in Punjab destroyed the party, its administration, and everything it had built over the years. The Congress in Chhattisgarh is also allowing another crisis to develop.
They must realise that in order to combat the juggernaut of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, they must learn to win elections in every state seriously. If the strategy of the Congress is to ignore the elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and other states, then one day Rahul Gandhi will emerge as the messiah of the liberals, and then it is a utopian fantasy. The Rajasthan crisis is a litmus test for Mallikarjun Kharge. If he fails and abdicates, and allows Rahul Gandhi to make the final decision, then the people will no longer have faith in this leadership. It will become clear that the Congress will remain unchanged.
The author is a Columnist and Doctoral Research Scholar In Media & Politics. He tweets @sayantan_gh. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.
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