Churn in Congress, but there’s no cream visible

NEW DELHI: Smarting under its worst-ever defeat in Lok Sabha and state elections, the Congress appears to be in a painful churn, desperately looking its leaders leaving for greener pastures. Even before the former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s ‘letter bomb’, rumblings of discontent had grown not only at the party headquarters but from Punjab, Assam, Haryana and Maharashtra as well.

The party high command, which was still squirming on how to tackle its senior-most general secretary Janardan Dwivedi for his pro-Modi remarks, Jayanthi’s exit is expected to give more flip to dissidence and voice against the capability of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Two former chief ministers Capt Amrinder Singh from Punjab and Deepinder Singh Hooda from Haryana have already raised a banner of revolt for being ignored by Gandhi in the state affairs. Rahul Gandhi is also reportedly upset with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat for his growing proximity to Baba Ramdev, known to be a BJP sympathiser.

Even though the party leadership had publicly admonished Kapil Sibal for representing the West Bengal state government in the Saradha case in his professional capacity as a lawyer, he refused to get cowed down.

West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Adhir Choudhary, has now complained to Rahul Gandhi against another general secretary C P Joshi, who failed to turn up at a rally in the state ostensibly because he missed his flight after being stuck in a traffic jam. Both Sibal and Joshi came in for much criticism at the rally.

Earlier, another senior leader and member of Congress Working Committee (CWC) from Punjab Jagmeet Brar had resigned, ending nearly 35-year-old relationship with the party. He had remarked that party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul should take a country-wide tour to listen to the views of party workers.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had earlier talked about Rahul Gandhi as “by temperament, woh stattadhaari vyakti nahin hain (he doesn’t have a temperament suited for the ruling benches”. Though, he later clarified the statement, it did raise questions on Congress vice-president’s leadership ability.

Earlier, soon after defeat in Lok Sabha, a number of party leaders wanted Rahul Gandhi to be the leader of the party in Lok Sabha, but he didn’t oblige them and instead picked Mallikarjun Kharge to lead the party in the House.