Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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Congress wasted a month pleading with Rahul, Karan Singh says, bats for young leaders

Former Cabinet minister suggests appointing 4 working presidents for north, south, east and west zones to give younger people positions of authority.

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New Delhi: A meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) should be convened “without delay” to elect an interim president, suggested Karan Singh, one of Congress’ veteran leaders. He said the party has already “wasted” a month in “pleading and pressurising” party president Rahul Gandhi to withdraw his resignation instead of “honouring” his “bold decision”.

The former cabinet minister suggested appointing four working presidents for north, south, east and west zones to introduce “younger people into positions of authority”. Singh has strongly urged the CWC to convene under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and take the decisions.

His remarks came in the wake of a leadership crisis in the Congress party after Gandhi made his decision to step down as its president, despite attempts by various senior leaders to convince him otherwise.

The former governor also said instead of “honouring” Gandhi’s “bold decision”, the party “wasted” a month in “pleading” and “pressuring” him to take back his resignation.

“As someone who had joined the Congress in 1967, over half a century ago, I am aghast to see the confusion and disorientation into which the party has fallen since Gandhi resigned on 25 May,” Singh said in a statement.

“Six weeks have elapsed and there is still no alternative structure in place,” he added.

Also read: Rahul Gandhi’s resignation can kill Congress, make India a one-party country

Push for younger leaders

The appointment of working presidents in the party “will let younger people step into positions of authority”, he said.

But Singh isn’t the only one making a case for inducting younger leaders in positions of power. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Saturday batted for a “charismatic gen-next leader who can enthuse the people with her or his pan-India appeal and grassroots presence.”

Singh feared that the longer this “uncertainty” continues in the party, the more workers and voters would be “demoralised.”

“The negative cycle must be reversed before its too late,” he said.

Singh’s statement comes less than a week after Gandhi made public his letter of resignation and urged the CWC, Congress’ top decision making body, to convene and elect a new chief.

Ever since, there has been a spate of resignations by senior Congress leaders, including UP (West) in-charge Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mumbai party chief Milind Deora. The leaders followed Gandhi’s call for “accountability” and took responsibility for the party’s 2019 poll defeat.

Also read: A throne or Rahul Gandhi’s paduka – what will the new Congress president get?


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  1. 1. Yes, it is necessary for the so-called senior leadership of the Congress party to get going and elect a new President. Is it not true that the Congress miserably failed to get back to winning ways under Rahul Gandhi? 2 Citizen-voters like me think that fortunes of the Congress party can be revived, if not in immediate future, but by 2029, certainly. 3. Those citizen-voters who believe that the Congress party has a future as a centrist (to be precise, left of the centre) political party, wish that the Congress leadership should make plans to reorganize the party as a centrist party. 4. My humble suggestion is that as and when new Congress Working Committee (CWC) would be formed, Smt Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ms Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra should not be part of CWC. This would be better future of the Congress party and also for ensuring internal democracy in the party. 5. We citizen-voters wish that new Congress President would tell country’s citizen-voters (a) his ideas of democratic India, (b) his strategy to defeat RSS & BJP on ideology and (c) whether and how the Congress party would redraft its economic agenda (which merely talks about increasing income of the poor but does not provide a viable to do that) and its secular agenda (which right now depends too much on minority community, i.e., the poor Muslim voters for survival) and lastly (d) how in coming months would he/she tackle ‘image problem’ by which I mean how would he/she handle a situation in which he/she will be branded as belonging to this or that State?

  2. When the British left in 1947, a section of the congress party that was a collaborator of the British captured the power. Nehru was the head of this faction, who was hand in glove with the British colonizers. This is the original sin of the post-independence congress party. Being a British collaborator, Nehru and Congress imposed a colonial narrative on India, which held us back for over 50 years. This perverted colonial gene is so deeply ingrained in the congress party that it is impossible to get rid of it without dismantling the party. I hope the party will now break apart and wither away. Out of this destruction, there is a chance that a new avatar of the party will rise, that eschews the colonial identity and is not afraid of embracing the Indian civilization.

  3. There was leadership crisis when Rahul Gandhi was “in charge.” Now the Congress is both rudderless and anchorless.

  4. It is good that many senior leaders are advocating for the young leadership. The CWC must urgently take the call. But making multiple Presidents would not work for Congress. Instead, a matured statesman to be found out to head the party with four General Secretaries for the four zones. It should be mix of senior and young leaders. And why Working President – when Rahul is firm that either him or anyone from his family would not be there in decision making too – a regular President should be elected. If it takes time, an interim Team can take over for facilitating election of a President and appointment of General Secretaries. If within a time frame an entire set of elected officials right from states to the central leadership takes place, it would be really great.
    The Party is standing on the brink of a critical juncture. If it is taken as an opportunity to excel, it would have excellent results. On the contrary, if it is taken as a threat it would loose the opportunity. It should take lessions from its own history. Many a time, there has been threat to the future of the party, but not only it survived, it excelled too. What happened when the Gungi Gudia caused a vertical split with almost all seniors combined even expelling her – her Congress eventually became the Real Congress. Yes, the point was that she was the Prime Minister but she had the serious risk of loosing her job. But not only she survived, the Congress was recognised the real one and became stronger and this is the same Congress today too.
    Yes, nobody has the charishma of Indira ji, but she too did not have the charishma when she revolted. It was much later that she earned and gather that charishma. Dr Karan Singh himself had been one of the leaders standing by her.
    Most of the leaders might have lost the election this time, but they must not be seen loosing the maturity and merit. They must brush up their Being and try doing their best.
    The Congress appears to be loosing the sight and direction – let it not appear so. With all due respect to the calibre and the commitment, that the former Prime Minister Dr Singh commands, fact remains he is not a politician. He will be seen a Family loyal only if he is to head the Party. A person who is of his own man with unchallengeable commitment and conviction to the Party with a clear vision and road map should only be put to head the party.
    The Party has lost too much of time and it may not afford to loose any longer.

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