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Scindia in BJP: Congress leaders can’t do without power or Gandhis failing to revive party?

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has joined the BJP. The Congress has been unable to attract new leaders or retain some of its promising members.

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Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has officially joined the BJP. The Congress high command run by the Gandhi family has been unable to attract new leaders or retain some of its promising members. Scindia is the latest leader after Himanta Biswa Sarma, Ashok Tanwar, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, and Vijay Bahuguna, who switched to the BJP claiming they were being sidelined by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

ThePrint asks: Scindia in BJP: Congress leaders can’t do without power or Gandhis failing to revive party?

Gandhi family fears that if it pushes younger leaders, they may challenge Rahul Gandhi in future

Rahul Verma
Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

Politicians are in the business of politics for two reasons — to further their ideological or issue-based agenda, and to pursue power. Jyotiraditya Scindia is no exception.

The immediate trigger for Scindia’s switch to the BJP is that after losing the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Guna, he was hoping to be accommodated in Rajya Sabha. CM Kamal Nath reportedly denied the Rajya Sabha berth from Madhya Pradesh in favour of Priyanka Gandhi.

However, this resentment within the Madhya Pradesh Congress was brewing for a long time — even before the 2018 assembly election, where Scindia led the campaign. After the results, however, he was neither made the CM nor the party chief of the state.

Scindia is more popular than Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh. The Gandhi family must own the responsibility for the current crisis. Recently, many Congress leaders publicly expressed that the party should draw a roadmap for the future. Congress needs young and energetic leaders to take charge, especially when the challenge is from the BJP led by Modi and Amit Shah. But the Gandhi family is not initiating any action plan to manage the crisis for fears that if it pushes younger leaders, then they may rise to challenge Rahul Gandhi, and sideline the coterie of the first family.

In trying to save the ‘palace’, the Congress is losing state after state. Scindia may be just the beginning of a brewing rebellion.

Lazy politicians like Scindia leaving not a problem for Congress, its lack of will to survive is

Professor at Delhi University

Even if the leaders heading to greener pastures from the Congress party protest that it is not power that is the driving force behind their moves, they can’t deny that politics for them was always about their own power tussle and not the people. Ideology is a worn-out concept. The claim that Jyotiraditya Scindia is making that he is holding the hands of the BJP to work for the state is an old one, used earlier by Nitish Kumar and others.

People like Scindia can never be called political leaders because they seldom interact with people. So, it is not a loss to the Congress party when such lazy people with no spine leave. But it is also a fact that even without them there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency in the leadership of the Congress.

The Congress comes across as an indifferent onlooker, shorn of imagination and moral courage. Its actions, rather the lack of it, give an impression that it does have some good intentions but that is all it has. If the Congress party has to survive, it must try to become more than a group of back room strategists. It didn’t have the minimum courage even to be in the violence-affected areas in Delhi immediately. Why should people have any hope from it, then?

Even when Rahul Gandhi walks away, the party gets him back. That is proving very costly for Congress & its leaders

Manisha Priyam
Political analyst, researcher and academic

The issue with the Congress is that it is unable to conduct itself as a party of protest and a party of people. It is unable to take on a mass character. Compared to the BJP, which was not in power for 60 years, the Congress is finding it hard to even manage the states that it has won. It surprises me that somebody like Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was a big name in the Congress and very close to Rahul Gandhi, left the party because the party was not allegedly listening to him.

It is the party’s, and especially Rahul Gandhi’s, inability to manage state-level factionalism and write a new youth script, which Gandhi has been trying to do for almost two decades or so. Even when Rahul walks away, the party gets him back, and I think that is proving very costly for the Congress.

It shows that the current leadership crisis is only a descriptor of the Congress’ inability to connect with the masses. Why can it not take up issues of people? What is it about the Congress that it cannot go on without the name of a Gandhi? Neither Sonia nor Rahul has been trained in the national movement. But why can’t they write a new script while not in the thick of power?

Jyotiraditya Scindia crossing over to BJP shows growing rot in Congress. The Gandhis must take a backseat

Smita Gupta
Journalist and political commentator

Jyotiraditya Scindia crossing over to the BJP from the Congress, where he spent 18 years, is a reflection of the growing rot in the party. Today, the party lacks the leadership that can provide either a clear direction to its members or retain talent. That a Gandhi family insider could neither ensure political space for himself, or get a personal hearing with the top leaders, has sent shock waves through the rank and file.

Scindia isn’t the first leader in the Congress to have quit in recent times, but his exit will prove to be more damaging because it could trigger other departures. He was, after all, the most prominent face of the generation expected to lead the Congress, along with close friend, Rahul Gandhi, whenever the latter took over.

If the down slide is to be stopped, the Congress needs to immediately appoint a new president (Sonia Gandhi is only the interim president) preferably through an election, and appoint a new Working Committee, with half its members being elected. Next, the party must introspect its 2019 defeat, reassess its challenges, reset its priorities and then, draw up a game plan. Ideally, the Gandhis should take a back seat, but if that’s not possible, the Congress must strengthen its state units and leaders.

Finally, the generational change must take place — else, key members of the Old Guard will ensure that the status quo continues.

Also reads: S Jaishankar’s remark on India’s friends: Sign of new confidence or misplaced arrogance?

By Unnati Sharma, journalist at ThePrint

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  1. A man , who till the other day, was selling brass utensils in a small town in UP, has managed to buy several properties in central London. This family should go. They should leave the country for good. They made enough to last fourteen generations.

  2. Gandhis are corrupt to the core. They looted the country in the last ten years and helped others to do the same.

  3. RG is a million ton boulder lying in the path of the party’s revival? Then why, “Even when Rahul Gandhi walks away, the party gets him back”? If the party itself wants RG, the million ton boulder lying in the path, then what is anybody to do? FIND OUT, WHY THE CONGRESS PARTY WANTS RG AT ANY COST.

  4. A big loss to the Congress party. Viewed objectively, Sachin Pilot contributed more to his party’s win in Rajasthan – head and shoulders – than Mr Scindia did in MP. However, he represented a very appealing face for a party that has fallen on hard times. The manner of his leaving reflects poorly on how the Gandhi family is helming the Congress. 2. Two – Karnataka, MP – down. Two – Rajasthan, Maharashtra – to go. That is the message that goes out to all stakeholders. When it comes to Will to power, there is no comparison between the two national parties. Recall the stunning reversal of fortune between the Assembly victories in these states and the general election sweep. 3. RG is a million ton boulder lying in the path of the party’s revival.

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