Sunday, January 29, 2023

Darbari politics

Living up to the expectations of being in the news for the wrong reasons, the Congress has landed itself in a most unwanted and damaging situation when the party(or precisely Rahul and Priyanka) announced ten candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election scheduled on June 10. Polling for 57 Rajya Sabha seats in 15 states has been scheduled for June 10. The Congress names of 10 candidates for the Rajys Sabha after unusually hectic parleys – P Chidambaram, Mukul Wasnik, Rajiv Shukla, Ajay Maken, Jairam Ramesh, Randeep Surjewala, Pramod Tiwari, Ranjeet Ranjan, Vivek Tankha and Imran Pratapgarhi. The Rahul and Priyanka imprint was large. The Congress has the votes to elect 10 from various states. The list is overwhelmingly full of Darbaris who owe their political existence to some member of the Gandhi family. These Darbaris could be dubbed as mass-less wonders, who have formed an exclusive club of drum beaters for the family in the high command and who may be the reason for the declining fortunes of the Congress. The list of the party’s candidates for the Rajya Sabha, which primarily accommodated family loyalists, have left several leaders angry and disappointed, coming as it did with lofty promises of revamp at the Udaipur brainstorming. The Congress may have been justified in denying tickets to veteran and experienced orators in parliament such as Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad for open dissent. However after they both patched up with Sonia the snub is going to cost the party dearly in the upper house at a time when the part is on the back foot. These two leaders have been leading from the front in attacking the ruling NDA on every major issue. The ‘chosen few’ have been parachuted to states to which they do not belong. Rajiv Shukla who hails from UP and Ranjeet Ranjan from Bihar were named from Chhattisgarh. Randeep Surjewala, who is from Haryana, was nominated from Rajasthan. Sonia had to placate Haryana boss Bhupinder Singh Hooda and parachuted Surjewala to another state. Ajay Maken, from Delhi, has been given the ticket from Haryana, Surjewala’s home state. Taking a dig at his party over the selection of Rajya Sabha candidates, Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari said that the Upper House had become a parking lot. Congress’ key spokesperson Pawan Khera from Rajasthan, who was expecting to be named, expressed dismay in a tweet. Another expectant and General secretary of Mahila Congress and former actress Nagma, who joined Congress at Sonia’s personal invitation was promised of a Rajya Sabha seat. Najma has been waiting for 18 years but the party instead, parachuted Imran Pratapgarhi who is from UP, to Maharashtra. While Maken, Surjewala, Jairam are considered to be extremely close to Rahul Gandhi, the nomination of three UP leaders, despite the drubbing in the UP assembly elections where the party won only two seats, perhaps reflects Priyanka Gandhi’s “long-term vision” for the Congress in the state. The Congress has forgotten, that in Rajasthan (elections next year), it is sitting on a political volcano that can erupt any time. Rebels led by Sachin Pilot are upset with the leadership as their demand to replace Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and install their leader has not been met. The Rajya Sabha election was a good opportunity to accommodate rebels. Instead of looking at the party’s electoral interests, the Congress has instead chosen serve self-interests for which it will pay dearly.

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