Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are set to campaign in the southern state.
New Delhi: With Rahul Gandhi’s prestige at stake in Kerala, the Congress will focus on the LDF-ruled southern state. Apart from this, the grand old party will also be focused on Tamil Nadu and Assam. These are the three states where Assembly polls are to be held along with West Bengal and Puducherry in the next couple of months.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Vadra will campaign in these three states. According to sources, the Congress will give the entire campaigning responsibility to the Left parties in West Bengal so as not to give any wrong message in Kerala. Moreover, the Congress is not getting encouraging reports from Puducherry. In fact, there is all possibility that Puducherry will go to polls under President’s Rule. A final picture on the fate of the Congress government in this state would be clear by Monday. Therefore, Congress’ strategy is to win Kerala anyhow. The party is also ready to accept all conditions of its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu so that “victory of its alliance in TN could be ensured”.
Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra will be holding one rally each in both these states. Sonia Gandhi’s movement may be restricted due to health reasons. But Priyanka Vadra has decided to spend a considerable amount of time campaigning in these states. Priyanka Vadra is presently touring UP districts for farmers’ issues. But the final strategy for UP will be in place after the five state elections.
The party’s poll managers believe that if the Congress does not win Kerala, it will be a rude setback for Rahul Gandhi, as he has to take over the reins of the organisation in June. There will be a risk of his leadership being questioned if poll results happen to be unfavourable. The Group of 23 has already raised similar questions earlier. The party might get demoralized in the elections which will follow five state polls. UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand will be among the states which will be going to polls February-March next year. The series of Assembly polls will keep taking place leading to general elections of 2024. Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan will also go to polls in 2023. If the Congress government falls in Puducherry, then only Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan will be the only states in its kitty.
Rahul Gandhi may not be the president of the Congress, but it is he who is running the party. His strategy has been weak, with organizational matters going almost out of hand. Loss of government in MP was the outcome of such a weak hold. Jyotiraditya Scindia had to leave the party due to what was seen as a lackadaisical attitude of Rahul Gandhi.
What is more worrying is that Rahul Gandhi continues to be ignorant of such developments in states such as Rajasthan. Groupism in Congress came to the fore when Rahul Gandhi visited the state.
Pramod Tyagi, a leader from UP, gave a statement in favour of former Dy CM Sachin Pilot. Pramod Tyagi is known as Pramod Krishnam who claims himself to be close to Priyanka Vadra. He gave the media an opportunity to highlight factionalism in the Rajasthan Congress. Pilot also held a public meeting in what was seen as a show of strength by him. Around 16 MLAs attended the programme. However, it is not going to impact the government in any way, because the BJP is itself mired in group fighting.
If Rahul Gandhi continues to be oblivious to these developments, then the situation might go out of control. The organizational decisions are taken only in election year due to infighting, which is another reason why Congress fails to strengthen its position. Assam, Kerala and TN are examples of that. The situation is much worse in Hindi heartland states.
The strategists as of now are focused on Kerala, going by the ground report which has given anxious moments to the leadership. Report says that it is not easy for the Congress-led front to get back to power there, even while Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Kerala.
AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, who happens to be from Kerala, is in Team Rahul. Two more stalwarts are also from Kerala. Apart from rallies of Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra, Venugopal and other big leaders will be campaigning massively.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has already been assigned the electoral task in Kerala. Then comes Tamil Nadu where Congress will not create any pressure on DMK for seat sharing. Sonia Gandhi will be campaigning in TN. Strategists are of the view that electoral success in southern states will give strength to Rahul Gandhi at a time when he is expected to take over the top party post.