Monday, January 30, 2023

Denial syndrome

Five states Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents have been asked to resign by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the recent poll debacle of the party at the Chintan Shivir held in Delhi on March 15. Such a serious matter was dispensed with within four-and-half hours. The five were accused, judged and executed and not given any opportunity to explain the circumstances or the reasons for the party’s debacle at UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) took the momentous decision to find scapegoats instead of honest appraisal for losing Punjab, failing to regain Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur where the party was largely expected to do well. A broad look into the probable factors for the debacle will indicate that all the state PCCs were appointed by the Gandhis and most did not have the general acceptance of the party rank and file. In UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who is AICC general secretary overall in-charge of UP had chosen Ajay Kumar Lallu as the PCC chief as reward for his “good job” in 2019. As Priyanka was the sole in-charge of UP, all decisions were taken by her. Priyanka had earlier been given joint responsibility of UP with then Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. However, Scindia felt snubbed as Priyanka began taking decisions arbitrarily without consulting him and which ultimately led to his exit from the party to the BJP. In Punjab Priyanka and Rahul chose Navjyot Singh Sidhu as PCC chief and replaced Sunil Kumar Jakhar. Ultimately Amarinder was himself booted out unceremoniously and though Sidhu hoped Priyanka would make him the chief minister, it was Charanjit Channi who ultimately got the job. Sidhu wanted to decide who gets tickets and when the Gandhis countered, he sulked and threatened to quit. In Uttarakhand Ganesh Godiyal was appointed as new Uttarakhand Congress chief by Sonia Gandhi. In Goa Girish Chodankar was retained as PCC chief through the good offices/influence of Gandhi loyalist P.C. Chidambaram despite many party stalwarts opposing his appointment. Chodankar has in the past also been accused of causing divisions within the party. After he was appointed in 2021, several Congress MLAs defected to BJP. In Manipur, PCC chief Nameirakpam Loken Singh was appointed as full time president after Govindas Konthoujam quit office to join the BJP in 2021. Except for Manipur, all PCC chiefs were appointed through direct intervention of the Gandhis. How can PCC chiefs be held solely responsible for the debacle when the CWC courtiers have always boasted about doing things through democratic consensus? The sacking of the PCC chiefs is nothing but a desperate effort to deflect blame from the Gandhis. In UP, Priyanka conducted a solo campaign all by herself in her new avatar as the Indira look-alike. Unbelievably and in an arbitrary manner, Priyanka set up candidates in 399 constituencies and ended up winning only two seats. Congress candidates in Uttar Pradesh lost their security deposit in 387 of the 399 seats contested under Priyanka solo campaign. Congress got just 2.4% of the total votes, lower than RLD’s 2.9% from just 33 seats it contested. In 2017 Congress in alliance with SP contested 105 seats and won seven. The Gandhis are responsible for choosing pliant PCC chiefs and so have to honestly accept responsibility for the downslide since 2014.

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