Team Rahul Plans Strike to Nip ‘Re­bel­lion’ in the Bud

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - RA­JESH RA­MACHAN­DRAN

Rahul baiters try to limit his role, clip wings of his ad­vi­sors and push one of the vet­er­ans as Leader of the Op­po­si­tion

RahulGand­hi­is­fac­ingth­e­first­big test of his lead­er­ship. And his close ad­vi­sors want him to seize the party lead­er­ship with­out al­low­ing t h e Ol d Guard to g rab t he Par­lia­men­taryrump,thep­ar­ty­or­gan­i­sa­tion or con­tinue this at­tack.

The party lead­er­ship was openly chal­lenged by a for­mer min­is­ter of state in the UPA, Milind De­ora, who has at­tacked Rahul and his ad­vi­sors. Any ref­er­ence to Rahul’s ad­vi­sors is con­sid­ered, within the party, a eu­phemism for Rahul him­self. In this case, Milind at­tacked the Congress vice pres­i­dent’s ad­vi­sors and then went on to tar­get Rahul by say­ing that, “people who take the ad­vice also have to bear the re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

The at­tempt by the anti-Rahul camp, ac­cord­ing to those in the know of things, is to limit the role of Rahul, to clip the wings of his ad­vi­sors and to let one of the vet­er­ans take over the Par­lia­men­tary party and even the po­si­tion of the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion. The Congress Par­lia­men­tary Party is ex­pected to meet on Satur­day to elect its new leader.

Ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers, the at­tack on Rahul is aimed at putting pres­sure on a So­nia to leave the po­si­tion of the LoP to the vet­er­ans. By blam­ing Rahul and his ad­vi­sors for the poll de­ba­cle, the vet­er­ans want to en­sure that they con­tin­ue­toasser­tau­thor­i­ty­over­thep­arty and re­tain it as a “hard-nosed po­lit­i­cal en­tity, pro­grammed to rule, in­stead of turn­ing it into a woolly-headed NGO led by non-po­lit­i­cal aca­demics and ac­tivists,” as a se­nior leader put it. Theanti-Rahul­cam­p­com­pris­eslead­ers who did not en­joy a per­sonal rap­port or great ac­cess to Rahul. This camp has old and young lead­ers and the tag “Old Guard” doesn’t re­ally ex­plain the com­po­si­tion of this strong group that has been in­im­i­cal to Rahul’s aides like Kan­ishk Singh and Sachin Rao, and his team of ad­vi­sors, Jairam Ramesh, Mo­han Gopal, Mad­husu­dan Mistry, Mo­han Prakash and Ajay Maken. But Team Rahul is con­fi­dent that fi­nally the Nehru-Gand­his’ lead­er­ship will pre­vail. “Rahul had given an as­sur­ance at the last AICC meet that he will take up any role the MPs give him. The po­si­tion of the LoP has to be de­cided by the speaker. But the only con­sen­sus can­di­date for the post of the leader of the party in LS will be Rahul. We will also want So­nia as the Congress Par­lia­men­tary Party leader,” said a Congress gen­eral sec­re­tary. The party has won max­i­mum seats from Kar­nataka. As a group, the Congress-ledUnit­edDemo­crat­icFront had­won12seats­fromKer­ala.Then,the third big­gest Congress con­tin­gent is from the north east. So, Rahul’s team is in no mood to ac­com­mo­date a leader from north like Ka­mal Nath. “Kharge is a strong leader, who has won 10 elec­tions, and he is a Dalit. Then there are also Veerappa Moily , KV T h o mas a n d Mul l a p a l l i Ra­machan­dran. There are plenty of lead­er­sto­choose­from.Whyshouldwe re­strict our­selves to states where we have been wiped out for many years?” asks a se­nior Congress func­tionary. These Congress lead­ers who are still try­ing to keep the vet­er­ans out of lead­er­ship po­si­tions want a de­bate on the per­for­mance of the UPA govern­ment, cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions and in­ef­fi­ciency and in­com­pe­tence of the govern­ment in its in­abil­ity to con­trol prices. Ac­cord­ing to a close aide of Rahul, “price rise and scams led to the drub­bing. Did Rahul’s team re­strict the num­ber of LPG cylin­ders? Was it the party that re­fused to act against price rise? Now, those who were in govern­ment say that the party did not act in time. If So­nia or Rahul had acted the same people would have said that they were not al­low­ing PM to func­tion”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.