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Published On:23 June 2020
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Opinion: Gujarat Congress faces revolt, heading for a spilt after losing Rajya Sabha election

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani


Ahmedabad: After losing one seat in Gujarat Rajya election, the Congress is hurtling from crisis to crisis. At the Centre, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are a formidable force for the BJP, the Congress is groping with Rahul Gandhi poorly equipped to measure up to the challenge and mother Sonia fighting ill-health and out of touch with political activity.
 
Talking to Gujarat Siyasat and Siyasat.net, a Ahmedabad-based senior political analyst claimed that Gujarat Congress is facing a major revolt in the cadre. Hundreds of party workers are unhappy with top leaders and many loyal workers are feeling humiliation. This may lead to a spilt in the party. 
 
According to some unconfirmed reports, former CM Shankersinh Vaghela may launch a new party with Congress dissidents in Gujarat. A senior Congress leader is in touch with him, sources claimed. 
 
 Political maneuvering continues to gain momentum as the Rajya Sabha elections are over in Gujarat. The weaknesses of the Congress central leadership had come to the fore, apart from exposing the fact that former party president Rahul Gandhi’s decisions lack substance.
Rahul Gandhi’s entire team flopped in Gujarat as well. The situation has come to such a pass that it has become difficult for the Congress to win a second Rajya Sabha seat. It is expected to win one seat. What adds to the Congress’ woes is that it may be headed for another split after the RS polls in the state.
 
Interestingly, the Congress, which had given anxious moments to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the 2017 Assembly elections, could not remain a united house inside a little over two years, with Rahul Gandhi being blamed for the Congress being a divided house in Gujarat. The question is now if the Congress will at all be a party to reckon with when the state goes to the Assembly elections in 2022.
 
In 2017, it’s the same Gujarat which had given the Congress some oxygen after its massive defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi had taken over the reins of the Congress during the Gujarat polls. He had hit the headlines for trying to play the soft Hindutva card. He visited several temples in an apparent bid to send out a soft Hindutva message. However, the Congress under him, although it gave a tough fight to the BJP, could not come to power. But Rahul Gandhi came in for praise for giving a tough fight to opponents. However, this was followed by Rahul Gandhi taking decisions on his own. This resulted in widening the split already existing in the party. The differences started growing between the old guards and the young Turks. Ignoring the old guard, Rahul Gandhi handed over the state’s command to Amit Chavda, the CLP leader post to Paresh Dhanani and the state in-charge responsibility to Rajeev Satav. These decisions led to massive internal fights.
 
As the situation went from bad to worse, a big committee of 500 leaders was formed. But this turned out to be an exercise in futility, as the committee was dissolved within a year in 2019. This was followed by Congress’ massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. Rahul Gandhi stepped down as Congress president and Sonia Gandhi was made interim president. 
 
But the decisions continued to be faulty. Shakti Sinh Gohil and Bharat Solanki were given Rajya Sabha tickets on the advice of Ahmed Patel. But in the meantime legislators began to desert the Congress. The BJP grabbed the opportunity and fielded Abhay Bharadwaj, Rameela Ben and Narhari Ameen. 
 
Before the split, the Congress had a sufficient number of 77 MLAs and three MLAs of its allies. But the situation changed completely after some of its MLAs left the party. Even after RS election over is an apprehension of more of the remaining 65 legislators leaving the Congress. So the Congress cannot repeat what it did in 2017. It had pulled out a victory of Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election by one vote to upstage the BJP. Then Gujarat was in charge of Ashok Gehlot. The “Chanakya of Congress” Ahmed Patel was himself camping there.

At the same time, Ahmed Patel managed to get tickets for Gohil and Solanki. Gohil was made general secretary despite his defeat in the Assembly elections. Now, he is in Rajya Sabha by winning the election, which is his reward for ensuring Patel’s win in 2017. But the Congress is definitely getting weakened in the prevailing circumstances.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is Editor of Gujarat Siyasat. He is a Senior Journalist based in Ahmedabad] 

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 23, 2020. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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