New Delhi: The top decision-body meeting of the Congress that rejected Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as Congress president Saturday is a club of losers. Only one of approximately every 14 members and invitees of the Congress Working Committee made it to the Lok Sabha this time.
This is the august body that takes all crucial decisions in the Congress party, including how to revive the organisation. But forget the number of winners, only one-third of this body even contested the elections.
Of the 54 members, permanent invitees and special invitees who attended the Congress Working Committee meeting, only 19 contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and 16 of them lost.
Party leaders may, however, argue against Rahul Gandhi’s inclusion in this list of losers as he lost from Amethi but won from Wayanad. Even after counting him in as a winner, only four of the 54 CWC attendees won this time — Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Gaurav Gogoi and A. Chella Kumar (the last two being permanent invitees).
The CWC has only 25 members, while permanent invitees (19) and special invitees (10) participate in CWC meetings only when they are called for it. If one were to consider only the first category of 25, the most powerful members of the Congress, only seven contested and five lost — excluding Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi defeat.
Didn’t contest, can’t win
Some of the members and invitees have never won an election in their entire political career. Dr Manmohan Singh at least contested the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, even if he was unsuccessful. Dipak Babaria, a CWC member, has never contested any election. A trusted lieutenant of Rahul Gandhi, Babaria is Congress general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh where the party could win only one of 29 seats.
Anand Sharma, another CWC member, has never contested any election. Avinash Pande, a CWC member, had contested his only election in 1985 to become an MLA — he is Congress general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, where the party drew a blank this time again.
Many of the members and invitees contested their last Lok Sabha or assembly elections in the days when, perhaps, Narendra Modi wasn’t even dreaming of a political career in Delhi: Ahmed Patel in 1989, A.K. Antony in 2001 (assembly election), Ghulam Nabi Azad in 1984 (Lok Sabha) and 2006 (assembly), Motilal Vora in 1998 (Lok Sabha), Ram Chandra Khuntia in 1985 (assembly), Rajni Patil in 1996 (Lok Sabha), and G. Sanjeeva Reddy in 1967 (assembly).
There are many other close confidants of the Congress president who claim to be national leaders without having won a single Lok Sabha election in their life. AICC communications department chief Randeep Surjewala, an MLA from Kaithal in Haryana, was recently humbled when he lost the Jind assembly bypoll in the same state earlier this year, coming third.
These are the Congress leaders who met Saturday to brainstorm over how to counter the electoral juggernaut of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.