‘Dissenter’ Ghulam Nabi Azad may be sent to Rajya Sabha.


New Delhi: In a surprising development, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was one of key members of G-23, may be back to Rajya Sabha. This has sparked a debate on whether the Congress will bank on old guards.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is discussing various strategies after five state defeats, including crucial Kerala, is said to have surprising decisions up his sleeves. Hectic lobbying is said to be on for the two Rajya Sabha seats. But surprisingly, the seats are likely to go to the disgruntled leaders only. Former RS MP, Ghulam Nabi Azad, may be one of them.

At the same time, there is a pressure for removing Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as Congress leader in Lok Sabha after the Bengal debacle. Several leaders curry favour with Rahul Gandhi for this post too. Congress high command wants to end the tussle between old guards and young leaders. The leadership also wants the controversy over the issues raised by dissenters to subside.

However, Kapil Sibal, who was also an important member of the disgruntled group, has expressed displeasure over the existing system in the party. He has been seeking organisation elections. The party will go for organizational polls after UP elections, but before that it will send out a message that all is well in the organisation. With this in view, two disgruntled leaders could make it to Rajya Sabha.

Rajiv Satav’s Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra will go to Congress, and the party will get one from Tamil Nadu. Three seats from TN have fallen vacant. AIADMK’s KP Munusamy and R. Vaithilingam had resigned as RS members after being elected MLAs. Another seat fell vacant after the demise of A. Mohammed John. Congress and DMK will get one seat each. Azad may be Congress candidate from Tamil Nadu. With this step, Rahul Gandhi will try to close the chapter of dissent. After this, there will be no rumour about Azad going to BJP.

Several dissenters, including Mukuk Wasnik, are lobbying for Maharashtra seat. Leaders such as Rajiv Shukla, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jitendra Singh and Ajay Maken are eyeing the seat. Last time, Randeep Surjewala ended up getting disappointed after he was pipped by Venugopal. Following Rahul Gandhi’s strategy, Randeep Surjewala launches scathing attacks on PM Narendra Modi. He may be hopeful of being given the seat on this ground only. But Rahul Gandhi is likely to go for old guards.

Similarly, Manish Tiwary is hoping to get selected for Congress leader in Lok Sabha as there is an immense pressure to remove Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury after the party’s dismal performance in Bengal. But Rahul Gandhi will decide whether Tiwary is to be given an organizational post or Lok Sabha post. Kerala groupism is giving anxious moments to Rahul Gandhi. After the Congress’ defeat there, faction fighting has intensified. If the situation worsens like this, Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat Wayanad will be jeopardized. He has met disgruntled leaders from Kerala. Ramesh Chennithala may be brought back to the central party. Rahul Gandhi is also likely to get the committee for Punjab and Uttarakhand announced. If Harish Rawat is sent to Uttarakhand as a campaign committee president, then a new in charge of Punjab will be appointed.

Moreover, a new PCC chief and in charge of Gujarat will also be appointed. Names of V.K. Hariprasad and Avinash Pandey are doing the rounds for Gujarat in charge post. After Jitin Prasad’s exit, a new in charge for Bengal will be appointed.

A new Bengal PCC president will also be appointed. There is also speculation about a change of general secretary in charge of the organisation and media in charge as well.