‘Congress cannot challenge PM Modi under the leadership of either Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’.


New Delhi: Thirteen months after again taking over the reins of the party, Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi may have revamped the party through a major AICC reshuffle, but the real question still remains to be answered.

The question is whether former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will be able to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the kind of politics he is so insistent upon doing, and with the attitude that does not go down well with the veterans. The main issue, which has been sparking acrimonious debate within the party, is that the Congress cannot pose a challenge to Modi under the leadership of either Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The party organisation that has emerged after a reshuffle on Friday shows that it has the stamp of Rahul Gandhi. All that Rahul Gandhi wanted has happened. Sonia Gandhi rejigged the team the way the Gandhi scion wanted.

The team of leaders who stood by the high command during the political crisis in Rajasthan has been promoted. This shows Rahul Gandhi’s trust in Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has risen. The promotion of Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Vivek Bansal, Devendra Yadav and Jitendra Singh is being seen as a reward for their struggle in Rajasthan. That Raghuvir Singh Meena continues to be in the main CWC is also his reward for the Rajasthan fight. If Avinash Pande was removed as Rajasthan in charge, then he has been accommodated in the CWC. That non-Hindi speaking K.C. Venugopal continues to be the general secretary indicates that Rahul Gandhi is not going to change his policy.

The important question, here, is whether the Congress will take a big decision in the beginning of 2021 or in 2022. Party insiders say that this could be possible. There are two important points to be discussed at this stage. First, if Rahul Gandhi insists on taking charge of campaign against PM Modi, then the party will anoint him as Congress president. Second, if the status quo is allowed to continue in the party till Uttar Pradesh elections of 2022, then the results of the polls will be the ground for the party to decide on the face that will take on Narendra Modi in 2024.

The crux of the letter written by the group of 23 leaders was that it is not possible to take on PM Modi under the present circumstances in the party. They had indirectly raised questions on Rahul Gandhi’s policy. The allegations against Rahul Gandhi are that he is unable to understand the mood of the nation. Nor does he want to know the mood of the nation as he is not doing full-time politics.

In the last seven months, Rahul Gandhi targeted the Modi government over issues such as corona, unemployment, economy, etc. He also interviewed many eminent personalities on the issues facing the nation at present, but what the upshot was of all that is beyond anybody’s comprehension.

And now when he would have an opportunity to launch a direct attack on the Modi government in Parliament, he will not be there in the House. Rahul Gandhi left for abroad with his mother Sonia Gandhi on Saturday. He has been doing so earlier also when he embarked on foreign visits whenever his presence was very much required by the party.

Now the question is whether the Congress will improve after the Friday rejig. It doesn’t seem so. The reason is that Rahul Gandhi will continue to rule the roost. He does not seem to be going to change his politics and attitude. What kind of politics was behind his move to engage Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Uttar Pradesh? If Congress again faces defeat in UP polls in 2022, the chances of which are higher, then Priyanka Vadra’s politics will be more difficult in future. Political observers believe that Priyanka Vadra should not have been engaged in UP politics. But Rahul Gandhi is bent on going ahead with politics of his own. As a result of his “different” politics, the situation is such that only four women are there in the key team of the Congress, namely Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ambika Soni and Rajni Patil. The more Rahul Gandhi continues to go like this, the worse it will be for the party. Congress does not have much time, with impending elections in several states. After Bihar polls in November, over half-a-dozen states have to go to polls in a span of seven months. These states are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. This will be followed by polls in states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in 2023. These state polls will end with the Lok Sabha elections of 2024.  Sonia Gandhi is just a decorative head of the party, all decisions are being taken by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra had taken all decisions from 2014 to 2019, the result of which is that the party’s graph continues to decline.