The Himanta Factor
Knives are definitely out in the Congress against the top leadership and the one having the last laugh is Congress rebel turned BJP kingmaker, Himanta Biswa Sarma. He has certainly emerged as the kingmaker in Assam with even Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh admitting that Sarma alone could have swung 10-15 seats his way in the state polls. Sarma has let it be known that the only reason he left was because of Rahul Gandhi, for he felt that the “young” leader was only interested in promoting dynasty. Interestingly, other Congress rebels are now spouting what is fast being known as the Sarma Line of attack against RaGa. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul—also a rebel Congressman who broke the party ranks recently to make a successful bid for the CM’s chair—recalls that the one reason he left was because Rahul would not listen to him when he asked for a change of leadership in the state. But the unkindest cut for Rahul must be from Vijay Bahuguna who has also recently joined the BJP. Bahuguna, too, is vocal in his criticism of the young Congress vice-president, which is ironic since initially it was Rahul who went against his mother and Harish Rawat to appoint Bahuguna as the state Chief Minister. But then as the young Congress leader is fast learning, in politics, gratitude is a revolving door.
State Share vs Seats
Congress spokesmen are having a tough time explaining to the media why the party still reposes faith in Rahul Gandhi (at least on record) after the recent debacle in the Assembly polls that has reduced the party to just six states, including two in the Northeast and Puducherry. To defend themselves, they cite seat shares claiming that of the 822 seats that went to polls in the five states, the Congress won 114 and the BJP only 85. Not impressed, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra has taken to referring to the Congress as a neo-regional party.
Prashant Kishor Vs Congress
Before the “master strategist” can win any states for the Congress, Prashant Kishor has to first win over the Congress. Already Captain Amarinder Singh has issued him a note of caution. Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed, too, recently said that “Kishor is a strategist and will have no say in ticket distribution”. Despite this, there are leaks to the media that Kishor wants a free hand in Uttar Pradesh and wants leaders like Kamal Nath, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sheila Dikshit to work with him in the state. Although Kishor has officially denied this story, one wonders where the leaks are coming from. Are these designed to help Kishor or trap him? Maybe the “master strategist” knows the answer!