Fireworks begin ahead of crucial Congress Working Committee meeting.


New Delhi: All eyes are set on who will openly defend the Gandhi family during the upcoming Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting. What has set the tone ahead of the Congress’ top body meeting is cropping up of the difference of opinion on the format of the parley itself.

Disgruntled leaders are insisting on having just a regular CWC meeting, while interim party president Sonia Gandhi would like to have the meet of an extended CWC.

There is no denying that these disgruntled leaders (G-23) had questioned the style of work of the Gandhi family. They want organizational elections and also a firm decision on who will lead the party. Needless to say, presently Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are running the party. So, it can be said that the party is divided into two groups. Rahul Gandhi does not consult the old guard. Rahul Gandhi ignored veterans’ views and gave Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra to Rajni Patil.

What was seen during Parliament’s Monsoon Session was a tussle between the old guards and the rest of the Congress leaders. The former remained dominant then.

Another setback for Sonia Gandhi and Congress was that despite her 20 August meeting, the Opposition leaders did not hold any agitation against the Narendra Modi government from 20 September.

Significantly, the disgruntled leaders are mounting pressure on the high command for CWC meeting at a time when former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is challenging the party on the one hand, while on the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is consolidating her position for national politics by making Congress leaders join TMC.

This mission of TMC can now be seen in the North East after Goa. Mamata Banerjee needs leaders in northern states to take on BJP. With this in backdrop, it will be interesting to see how the dissidents target the Gandhis during the CWC meeting.

In the last CWC meeting, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot defended the Gandhis when dissidents, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, had targeted Sonia Gandhi over election related issues. Azad pointed out that several leaders were made CWC members without any election.

Most of the G-23 leaders are now more concerned about the future of the party. Several leaders, particularly those who were close to Rahul Gandhi, have left the party. In fact, most of the leaders are of the view that the party cannot be revived in present circumstances.

Apart from Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik and Anand Sharma are some of the leaders who could question the decisions taken so far during the CWC meeting. These leaders have political options with them. Amarinder Singh is going to form an organisation “Punjab Vikas Party” which will oppose the Congress. Meanwhile, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee seems to be keen to replace Congress.

With disgruntled leaders on collision course with the Gandhis, they are likely to quit the Congress later. What remains to be seen is when the CWC is convened and in what format.