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EditorialsEditorial: Charade continues

Editorial: Charade continues

Published: 18th Oct 2021 12:00 am | Updated: 17th Oct 2021 8:42 pm

If the Congress supporters were looking for solutions or at least an honest introspection from the top leadership over the organisational issues plaguing the party for years, the crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), chaired by interim president Sonia Gandhi, came as a dampener. Beyond the empty rhetoric and delusional claims of self-importance, the party’s highest decision-making body has neither addressed the issues flagged by a section of veteran leaders nor has it attempted to provide any direction to the demoralised cadre. The wait for having a full-time president has been stretched further with the party now saying that the election to the post will be held in September-October 2022. The real reason behind delaying the election further is that the party wants to insulate Rahul Gandhi from the negative fallout of the possible electoral setbacks in the coming Assembly polls early next year, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. It is this untenable protective cover thrown around him that allows Rahul the luxury of wielding all the power in the party but without responsibility. There is no reason for him or his party to prolong the inevitable, particularly when he himself has reportedly agreed at the CWC meeting to “consider” resuming the party president’s job. The charade of internal democracy for the top post must end and Rahul must come forward to subject himself to the scrutiny of accountability that he demands of his political adversaries.

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Sonia Gandhi took over the role as an interim arrangement after Rahul quit the post of president following the Congress’ drubbing in the 2019 polls. Transparent and free organisational polls and an overhaul of the party to put in place a ‘full-time, visible and effective leadership’ have been the long-standing demands of internal critics, including the ‘G-23’ – a group of senior leaders who first wrote to Sonia Gandhi last year asking for sweeping changes. Instead of addressing the issues raised by them, she chose to display needless aggression at the CWC by chiding the leaders for going to the media on the party’s internal matters. Her claim that she has been a hands-on, full-time president is far from true. It is an undeniable fact that the grand old party is opaque and rigidly hierarchical in its functioning, with the top leadership being largely inaccessible to the State level leaders. In fact, the culture of subjugating the regional leaders to the whims of the high command has been the bane of the Congress. Ever since the ‘G-23’ highlighted the need to reform the party, nothing much has changed on the ground and the Congress’ downward spiral continues as it put up uninspiring performances in the April-May round of State Assembly polls.

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