Monday, January 30, 2023
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Why Gandhi family loyalists in Congress are turning against Rahul

According to party insiders, over 200 Congress leaders & even CMs are willing to back the 23 who have written to Sonia seeking a change in party functioning and leadership.

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New Delhi: Over 200 senior Congress leaders, including a couple of incumbent chief ministers and many members of Parliament (MPs), are prepared to join forces with the so-called letter bomb-makers — a section of senior leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi early August — to change the functioning of the party and its leadership, multiple party functionaries have told ThePrint.

In the letter, they had demanded a full-time president, elections from block to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) levels and “collective leadership”, of which the Gandhi family would be an integral part.

Sonia Gandhi has been functioning as interim president since August last year, after Rahul Gandhi resigned taking responsibility for the party’s debacle in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Four senior Congress leaders have been at the forefront of the latest attempt to shake up the party leadership. They include former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and three former Union ministers — Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Hooda told ThePrint that he didn’t want to discuss “internal party matters”, while the other three leaders didn’t respond to calls for their comment.

Also read: Reclaiming Indian pluralism will need annihilation of the Congress party

Kharge in Rajya Sabha a sticking point

While the former Haryana CM, a mass leader, has reasons to be upset with Rahul Gandhi who has been undermining him for the past six years, Ghulam Nabi Azad whose Rajya Sabha term ends next February has been upset since the party command brought former opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, into the Upper House in June.

With no mass base in Jammu and Kashmir and the likelihood of Kharge replacing him as the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Azad, a long-time Gandhi family loyalist, has chosen to take on Rahul Gandhi, says a Congress functionary.

Deputy leader of Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, who has never contested a direct election and has no base in his home state of Himachal Pradesh, is also said to be upset as Kharge’s entry ruins his chances of an elevation.

Although the letter bomb, manufactured by these four leaders, comes in the backdrop of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi’s seemingly concerted attempts to “humiliate” veteran leaders in the last few CWC meetings, party sources said these four leaders had been in touch with scores of leaders from various states “for at least five months”.

They had had several meetings and telephonic conversations before the letter was drafted and sent to the interim Congress president.

Also read: Congress done with, BJP plans to demolish regional parties’ fortresses brick by brick

Signatories split on how they want party to act

Multiple signatories of the letter ThePrint spoke to seemed split in terms of their expectations from the party leadership. While a majority would like Rahul Gandhi, a “tried-and-rejected product”, to make way for “a politician who understands Modi’s politics”, a few are ready to live with him as long as he develops “better systems” in the party.

Their demand for internal elections would lead to the weeding out of Rahul’s close aides who have little hold in the organisation. The demand for the revival of the Congress Parliamentary Board is led by their assessment that it would give veterans a say in the decision-making process.

Ahead of the extended CWC meeting Monday, party functionaries told ThePrint that over 200 leaders were ready to back the letter-writers whenever “the need arises”, although they had chosen not to be signatories at this stage.

If there is any attempt to stifle the voices of the signatories and ignore their concerns, others will join in, said one of the signatories. Suspended Congress leader Sanjay Jha, who had blown the whistle about the letter by 100 Congress leaders to Gandhi last Monday, put their number at around 300 Sunday.

Rahul’s attempts to force veterans out behind letter

Although party leaders have been concerned about the drift and ad hocism in the party, what appears to have triggered a seeming rebellion is the Gandhi family’s attempt to force the exit of veteran leaders as desired by Rahul Gandhi. Even after resigning, he has continued to run the party with his mother serving as a “rubber stamp”, say party leaders.

They claim that he was keen on taking over the post of Congress president but only after getting rid of senior party leaders who didn’t seem inclined to hang up their boots.

The letter is seen as an attempt to ‘rein in’ Rahul and his powerful coterie of political greenhorns with privileged backgrounds. They have been seeking to undermine and drive out party veterans who served his parents — late Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia
Gandhi — for decades.

What alarmed veteran Congress leaders was their “humiliation” in CWC and other meetings — with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joining Rahul Gandhi and his lieutenants to lead the charge against veterans and Sonia choosing to remain a mute spectator.

At the last CWC meeting, for instance, the brother-sister duo went after party veterans for not speaking enough against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At another meeting of the Rajya Sabha MPs, Rahul’s aide Rajiv Satav blamed the UPA government for the party’s electoral setbacks in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Also read: Why Rahul Gandhi is a misfit in Kapil Sibal’s public limited company



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  1. The senior Congress leaders are desperate that, if Rahul remains in control of the party, then the chances to defeat Modi are negligible. They want someone out side the family as controller. But the dynasty is not ready to relinquish the control of the party, having a billion dollars aasessts. Now when Rahul had branded these leaders as BJP agents, it is up-to them, either to digest the humiliation or to rebel. They should keep in mind that Sonia/Priyanka are not Indira and the party is not in power as it was in 1969, with Indira as PM.

    • Very much correct, the real fight is for the undeclared Assets of the Congress party eg National Herald that these lot have hoarded away by looting the public, the family wants to eat it alone but the senior durbaris want their pound of flesh

  2. The article was posted 22hr back. And only 5 comments are there. From this, its evident people have other issues and things to do than reading party’s mouth piece article.

  3. The so-called loyalists will remain loyal canines as long as they get bones to gnaw on. Anyway, I am predicting this: In none too distant future, the pseudo Gandhis will disappear overnight from India, and probably will surface in the Island of Nityananda Swamy, if not in Italy. They have overstayed the hospitality.

  4. Nobody is turning against Rahul ji. On Monday they will all propose & elect Rahul ji as Congress President. There is no dissent. Only a Gandhi especially the dynamic, capable and magnetic Rahul ji can lead the Congress.

  5. 😏😏Come on , we want RaGa back . Only under him can Modi and Amit shah win the upcoming elections in the future 😂😂

  6. Elect Priyanka, Sachin or Shashi. It has to be a leader with charisma and a really positive persona- everything else can be learnt. If you dont pick someone like this, get ready for Modi 2024

  7. Getting rid of the Gandhis is easier said than done. There is no rational reason to keep the Gandhis – Rahul lost his Amethi seat, PGV was totally ineffective and Sonia is way too old. But the Gandhis were smart enough to ensure “no competition” for the Prince of Incompetence. It is time for regional fronts or AAP to go national.

  8. The Congress NEEDS a Gandhi to lead. It’s inconceivable that it can be otherwise. The history, sacrifice and ethos of the Congress requires that. If Rahul ji doesn’t want the leadership and wants to focus on strategic issues, then please give Priyanka Ji a chance.

    • And after Priyanka give her sons also a chance. So that “ Congress & Sons scamming company” can run forever.

  9. Until Sonia dies, nothing will change in Congress. She still dreams her pappu will be the PM someday in the future. That Pappu is a hybrid of a goat and a donkey, is another matter.

    • Im not a fan of Rahul but your language is disgusting. You sound like a pappu loser yourself. Your mother must be so proud!

    • Mr Gary: In a superb demonstration of your intellectual impotence and your shall we say uncouth upbringing , you end up doing the only thing that you were presumably taught: abuse when you do not have the wherewithal to argue.

      Your statement “Pappu is a hybrid of a goat and a donkey” tempts me to speculate what two species might have combined to produce a hijrah – apologies – hybrid like you. But being a polite sort of a chap, I will refrain from questioning your lineage.

      Meanwhile, the medication you might be consuming for the impotence of the termite between your legs does not cure intellectual impotence.

  10. What is this nonsense of asking for accountability from the Gandhis? The Congress is a private organisation owned by the Gandhi family and they are well within their rights to run the organisation the way they see fit.

  11. We want Rahul Gandhi back as President. After all the Gandhis are the symbol of sacrifice.
    Mr Rahul is a youth icon.
    Mrs Sonia is a Matriarch.
    Mrs Priyanka is a symbol with ground support in UP.

    • Completely agree with you on the sacrifices made by the Gandhis
      1. Rahulji sacrificed wisdom
      2. Priyanka sacrificed all the luxuries and ill gotten gains
      3. Sonia made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up power when the UPA was in power

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