Chances of dispute resolution between the two factions have run into rough weather.

 

New Delhi: The chances of the decades-old internal dispute in the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC-the labour and trade union wing of the Congress) being resolved have run into rough weather.

On 20 November, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh—who is among the two members committee appointed by party president Sonia Gandhi to resolve the dispute expeditiously with the other member being leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge—attended a programme in the capacity of chief guest that was called by G. Sanjeeva Reddy, who is leader of one of the two factions that are seeking to control the INTUC. The other faction is led by former Congress Dhanbad MP, Chadrashekhar Dubey.

Earlier, on 9 August, in a bid to resurrect INTUC to its old glory, the leaders and representatives of the two factions were summoned to Delhi by Sonia Gandhi and asked to sit down with Singh and Kharge and resolve all issues amicably and expeditiously failing which the party will be forced to take “suitable action” against the faction that does not accept the settlement arrived at by the committee.

The two factions were also told not to speak out against each other and trust the committee members to take “informed and wise” decisions.

Following this, according to members of the Chandrashekhar Dubey faction, they had gone silent and were waiting for a solution to this issue, which was expected to be arrived at by the two-member committee within one month’s time period.

“Both the factions submitted all the required documents and recorded their views in front of the committee, which is supposed to act as an independent arbitrator. However, it is almost four months now since this entire exercise and yet nothing has happened. We were told that the issue will be resolved within one month. On top of that, Singh, who has been asked to decide which of two factions is the real INTUC, attended a working committee meeting on 20 November that was called by Sanjeeva Reddy that gave an impression to the party cadre and leaders that he is pre-disposed towards the Reddy group. How can we believe that he will be taking an unbiased decision as he has been asked to by Sonia Gandhi on this issue now?,” a prominent Delhi-based functionary of the Dubey faction told The Sunday Guardian.

This development has led to the Dubey faction approach party president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Kharge, asking how they can trust the process of conciliation in such a scenario.

According to both the factions, INTUC impacts voting patterns in at least 95-100 Lok Sabha seats across the country due to its combined membership, which they claim is about 5.5 crore. However, this body has been unable to help the party in recent times due to the factionalism it has been experiencing.

The INTUC has a formidable presence in Uttar Pradesh, but there too, factionalism has eroded its strength. While Ashok Kumar Singh, who is a part of the Reddy group, has a considerable hold over ordnance factory workers in the state, Sanjay Dikshit, who is a part of the Dubey group, wields influence over the ground level workers.

However, rather than focusing on how to defeat their opponents, they are more focused on ensuring that candidates from their rival camps within INTUC don’t get Assembly tickets for the upcoming 2022 state elections.

Sources in the Chandrashekhar Dubey camp told this newspaper that they are going to organize a massive INTUC programme in Ramgarh, Jharkhand, which will be led by former MP Pradeep Balmuchu on 18 December. “The Reddy camp is already organizing programmes. If the two-member committee does not arrive at a decision quickly, we will organize our event on 18 December where all the top leaders, including party president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Mallikarjun Kharge would be invited,” a source close to Dubey said.