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New Congress president has blessings of alliance partners

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New Congress president has  blessings of alliance partners

Sonia Gandhi has managed to garner all support for Rahul in the party before giving him the command, and in the same manner, her team has mobilised support of the alliance partners for the new Congress president. The alliance partners of the Congress are openly backing Rahul, and sources say Sonia and Rahul have toiled hard for this.

The TMC, which is the largest party amongst the probable partners of the Congress for the 2019 elections, has promised to stand behind Rahul. This is a fact that Mamata Banerjee has always been very close to the Gandhi family. She was all praises for Rahul’s efforts in Gujarat, saying the Congress had put the BJP on the back foot in the State and that is a big victory in itself. She added that whatever be the result, the Congress has already won.

Mamata’s statement has an underlying meaning. Everyone knows that Rahul has taken big risk while deciding to take charge of the party just two days before the results of Gujarat elections. In this scenario, he was in need of support from a big leader like Mamata. She didn’t disappoint and said Rahul had worked hard in Gujarat. If the Congress doesn’t win in Gujarat, then the party leaders will support Rahul on the cue provided by Mamata.

Even before Mamata, the RJD also supported Rahul. Tejashwi Yadav praised the newly elected Congress president, saying he would become the Prime Minister one day. Recently, Rahul called Tejashwi and they had lunch together. Probably, they talked about Rahul’s taking command of the party and the future of the UPA. This must be noted that it was Lalu Prasad who had first saved Sonia from the attacks of the Opposition and helped her strengthen her leadership. Tejashwi is doing the same for Rahul. Earlier, Sharad Pawar was opposing Rahul’s name, but now he is also supporting him. Recently, on two occasions, he said Rahul has become a leader and his leadership is being accepted. Smaller parties already didn’t have any problem in accepting Rahul’s leadership.

CONGRESS SESSION IN JAN

Rahul has taken over the reins of the Congress and now it is expected that the party will have its plenary session in January and then the AICC will ratify the decision on Rahul. When Sonia was elected the party president for five years, the session was held at Burari in Delhi. Probably, this time also, the session will be held at Delhi. However, Bangalore is also a probable venue because this year, elections are scheduled in Karnataka.

In the next two months, elections will be held in three N-E States — Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya. Soon after the Gujarat elections, the BJP will start campaigning in these States and the blueprint of the party is ready. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah will also be going to the N-E States soon. Rahul will also start campaigning in these States. That is why there is suspense over the dates of the Congress session.

Sources in the Congress say the session will be held either in Delhi or Bangalore in the last week of January. Rahul might give the final shape to the organisation, and might also initiate big changes. New general secretaries have to be appointed and some vice-presidents also have to be named. Rahul also wants to engage all veterans of the party, and at the same time, he wants to take all young leaders on board. This work will be finished by the end of January. At the Congress session, members of the AICC will be elected and the number will go up to one dozen.

THE ROLE OF SONIA GANDHI

Leaders who were not from the Nehru-Gandhi family and became presidents of the Congress faced a tough time when they left the chair. Before Sonia, PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri had been party presidents, but when they left the post, they didn’t hold much importance in the scheme of things. But Sonia will not face any of that; her importance and relevance will stay the same and she will continue to hold a strong position. Along with Sonia, her team will also be active and continue to work.

Sources in the Congress say Sonia might work either as the Congress patron or as chairman of the parliamentary board of the party as the UPA convenor. The leaders who have been working with Sonia for the past two decades want her to remain active to keep the alliance intact before the next Lok Sabha Elections. Those who have worked with her in UPA-1 and UPA-2 have great respect for her.

It is being said that many senior leaders of the party want her to stay in active politics, but she has not given any such indication. A close aide of Rahul says Sonia doesn’t want any question to be raised on the authority of her son. She doesn’t want to become the ‘other’ power centre. That is why people are saying that Priyanka Vadra’s inactivity is deliberate. If this is the case, Sonia will not accept any role formally and can unofficially handle the issues with alliance partners.

SCAPEGOATS FOR POLL LOSS?

Even after being suspended from the Congress, Mani Shankar Aiyar is on the BJP’s target. PM Modi and Amit Shah raised the issue of an alleged meeting at Aiyar’s residence. Before that, his “neech” statement had caused controversy. Apart from Aiyar’s statement, Kapil Sibal’s stand on the Ram Temple became a cause of problem for the Congress.

That is why it is being said that the two leaders could be made the scapegoats — if the Congress doesn’t win in Gujarat, the party will hold them responsible. A veteran Congress leader says the party always looks for someone to pin the blame on. There is no tradition in the Congress to hold the high command responsible. So, if Gujarat is lost, then leaders will say the party was winning but Aiyar’s and Sibal’s statements just before voting sent everything into a tizzy, resulting in polarisation, which ultimately caused poll defeat for the Congress.

However, many Congress leaders are not in favour of targeting Sibal. Sources say that if the party doesn’t win in Gujarat, Rahul will be held responsible, as he has taken command of the party just two days before counting. They say that this time, old tradition won’t be followed. They believe Rahul has taken charge before results with the hope of winning, so he can take credit for it. In this scenario, he should be ready to take responsibility for the defeat as well.

This has also been apparently discussed in the party forum, and a youth leader of the party says that if defeat comes, then Rahul will take the onus and nobody will be made a scapegoat.

 
 
 
 
 

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