Sunday / December 8.


By Nora Chopra

The much awaited reshuffle of the Congress party is likely to be deferred indefinitely till the organizational elections next year. Disillusionment is fast taking over within the party in the wake of a defeat after defeat since 2011 when state after state started falling like nine pins. The worst was of course the Lok Sabha polls where the party faced a defeat like never before. The Congress Lok Sabha tally has been reduced to 44 the same as Rahul Gandhi’s age. The veteran leadership not used to his style of functioning has been demanding some action as early as possible. But nothing seems to be working. Kuch to abhi hone hi chaiye said a very senior party leader. The latest missive has come from former UPA finance minister P Chidambaram. PC has said in an interview to a TV channel that Sonia Gandhi is the numero uno. But after her anyone can become the president of the party. It is being seen that anyone would be better than Rahul. He too has demanded some action and has advised the Gandhi mother and son to speak more. . But despite so much pressure from within, Rahul Gandhi does not want to make any changes at the national level. The changes he wants are only in the states where like Sachin Pilot ad Arun Yadav he wants to experiment with more younger people. But for changes at the AICC level he is not keen. He has been saying within the Party let people contest and win the election and then they would be there for the entire term. Rahul’s critics in the party claim that if reshuffle takes place now and then those general secretaries are close to him like Mohan Prakash and Madhusudan Mistry both architect of the Congress defeats in the Hindi belt like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra will have to go. . The delay in the reshuffle is being seen as safety m4easure for his men.




The outgoing Congress Chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra and Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana are unlikely to get any plum posting in the states where they led their party to such a defeat. They would not represent the Congress either as PCC chief or the CLP leader. . In Maharashtra, lobbyimg has already begun for both the posts of PCC and CLP chiefs. Among those whose names are under consideration for the post of PCC chief are Ashok Chavan but his problem is that he is an accused in the Adarsh House scam. Narayam Rane is also lobbyimg but he cannot get the post as his son’s name is in the black money list. The most viable front runner is Vilas Muttemvyar who comes from the Vidharba that has given the maximum MLAs to the BJP this time. Vilas a seven times MP, lost n the Modi wave but now if he is made the PCC chief then the Congress can succeed in winning back Vidharba. Another person being considered I from that region is Mukul Wasnik a dalit and Naresh Pugulia. The other name is of Sushil Kumar Shinde, also a dalit. But Mukul and Shinde‘s stars can shine only if a Maratha gets the job of a CLP leader. Among those in queue for the post of the CLP leader are Bala Saheb Thorat, Radha Kishen Vikhe Patil and Patang Rao Kadam. All are known money bags.  As for Haryana, a revolt is brewing against Bhupinder Singh Hooda. . Both the party brass has conveyed to former CMS very categorically that they should not aspire for anything. In Haryana the choice for the Congress to choose their CLP lies only between Randee Surjewala and Kiran Chudhury. Both these jat leaders were ministers in the Hooda cabinet but they do not belong to any group in the divided Haryana Congress. But since Surjewala is close Rahul Gandhi and is national spokesperson, Rahul may want him to be in Delhi as general secretary AICC in the much awaited reshuffle whenever it is done. But the final decision on the post has yet to be decided. on who gets what between Surjewala and Kiran Choudhury. As for the PCC chief, Ashok Tanwar a dalit and ex youth Congress chief will continue as the PCC chief till the organizational elections.




The Congress leadership is toying with the idea of fielding all its seven MPs who were defeated by the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in May this year. All the seven MPs have been given the indication and have been told to be ready for the Vidhan Sabha elections. The thinking in the party is that these seven MPs may have lost the Lok Sabha elections but each parliamentary constituency comprises of ten assembly segments and they can easily sail through in one of the assembly segment. The MPs have been told to start preparing.




Change of leadership at the state level is the prime priority of the Congress high command after getting positive results from Rajasthsn . Rahul Gandhi has begun his hunt for a young competent faces for the states. To begin with, Uttar Pradesh is on top of the agenda. The thinking in the Congress leadership is that the Congress in UP should have a brahmin as their PCC chief. With the BJP Government being led by Narendra Modi, an OBC, the Congress leadership is of the opinion that since the brahmins are not goimng to be very happy in the coming months at the rise of the OBCs they will have no option but to look towards the Congress. In 2009 when the Congress got 21 MPs elected it was because of the Brahmin support. At that time Rita Bahuguna was the PCC chief and she was a Brahmin. Among the Brahmin names that are under consideration are Pramod Tiwari, Rita Bahuguna and Jitin Prasad. While the congress leadership does not trust Tiwari, Rita has already been expermented . Jitin like his contemporaries Sachin Pilot and Arun Yadav is young and suave and was part of the RG group. His only problem is that his name along with RPN Singh is allegedly involved in the Moin Qureishi case.




When the ship starts sinking, even the rats leave the shore. Now that the Congress ship is sinking even the blue eyed boys of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi have started avoiding her. Eyebrows were raised when the once Gandhi family favourite the Kerala chief minister Ommen Chandy came to Delhi but left the capital after meeting Narendra Modi and without meeting the Congress president. That made big news in Kerala and the Delhi leadership was also shocked. A whisper campaign also started both in the state and the capital. But the Gandhis must have taken a sigh of relief when Chandy called on her in his latest visit. He is supposed to have given the explanation about why he had to leave in a hurry after meeting only PM. (IPA)


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