Robert Vadra keen on political plunge; Rahul’s nod awaited.
New Delhi: In what is being described as important development having far-reaching implications in the Congress, party interim chief Sonia Gandhi during Rahul Gandhi’s stay in Italy surprised everyone by reposing faith in veteran leaders. A couple of more key developments also took place in the Congress recently.
AICC general secretary Priyanka Vadra came out of Uttar Pradesh politics and started taking more interest in other issues to corner the Central government. Second, Robert Vadra has cheered up his supporters by expressing intent to join electoral politics. He is said to have Priyanka Vadra’s consent, but he will need Rahul Gandhi’s green light. Moreover, office-bearers are now sitting in the party office regularly. It is said that Sonia Gandhi has started working on the suggestions given by dissenters some time back. She has given responsibilities to older generation leaders. The objective of all this is to ensure that Rahul Gandhi’s anointment as party president, whenever it happens, does not meet with any hurdle. However, there is not much change visible at the state level as of now. According to sources, Sonia Gandhi’s priority is to rule out any controversy whenever Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress president.
However, Rahul Gandhi’s departure abroad just a day before the INC’s foundation day led to controversy. Social media was flooded with several messages raising one question or the other on his sudden tour abroad. Even Rahul Gandhi’s foreign visit did not go down well with some party leaders also. Priyanka Vadra did try to take control of the situation in his absence. She remained present during the party’s foundation day event. She continued to hold meetings with leaders on farmers’ protests. She continued to attack the Centre over the farmers’ issues as well. Priyanka Vadra interacted with party leaders at Rahul Gandhi’s 12 Tughlaq Road residence. It was only there that she held a meeting with Rajiv Shukla and her husband Robert Vadra. Shukla is getting closer to Priyanka Vadra and Robert Vadra as an advisor these days. Robert Vadra is said to be unhappy with the income tax raids on him. He has expressed his desire to be in electoral politics. Will Robert Vadra really be allowed to be in politics by the Gandhi family? Will he be given any role after Rahul Gandhi becomes party chief? These questions are dominating the debate in the party circles. Some say that Robert Gandhi’s entry into politics will in some way damage the Congress’ prospects.
Meanwhile, poll-bound states have yet to see Congress’ activities, though Sonia Gandhi has made startling announcements for these states. The message she is said to have sent out is two-fold. One, she has sought to mend fences with the disgruntled leaders. Two, the interim party chief has sidelined Rahul Gandhi’s team. She has seen how Congress did badly in Bihar where party affairs were being looked after by Rahul Gandhi’s confidante Randeep Singh Surjewala. Sonia Gandhi has given charge of poll-bound Kerala to Ashok Gehlot, Luizinho Faleiro and G. Parameshwara. She has given charge of Assam to Bhupesh Baghel, Mukul Wasnik and Shakeel Ahmed. Similarly, Sonia Gandhi picked up Veerappa Moily, M.M. Pallam Raju and Nitin Raut for charge of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. She has given responsibility of West Bengal to B.K. Hariprasad, Alamgiri and Vijay Indra Sigla. This is how she has reposed trust in the veterans. All these states are quite important as far as Congress’ politics goes.
Barring Kerala, Rahul Gandhi had appointed less experienced leaders as in-charge of states. He had given Assam to Jitendra Singh, West Bengal to Jitin Prasad and Tamil Naduj to Dinesh Gundurao. Tariq Anwar is in charge of Kerala. But Sonia Gandhi has given responsibilities to senior leaders, taking the state polls seriously. But there is no decision as of now on state organizational changes. Rajasthan PCC is not complete. But the Tamil Nadu PCC is quite large. This is the situation in many states. Sonia Gandhi is in a fix due to the ambiguity created by Rahul Gandhi.