NEW DELHI: Rebellion was writ large over the Congress party across the country with two heavyweight ministers, Narayan Rane in Maharashtra and Hemant Biswa Sarma in Assam, quitting the respective party governments. Both have been seeking to replace their Chief Ministers, Prithviraj Chavan and Tarun Gogoi, to little avail.
The erosion was not restricted to Maharashtra and Assam. In Haryana, J&K and West Bengal, dissident activities peaked, as if in tandem, forcing party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi to react in exasperation: “Some people are working for their personal aggrandizement, ambition and not for the party.”
If senior leader and RS member Virendra Singh again raised the banner of revolt demanding Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s ouster (tagged with the threat that he would join a rival camp, BJP or INLD, or float his own outfit), in J&K, two-time ex-MP, Choudhary Lal Singh, quit the party with the declaration that he will contest the coming Assembly polls as an independent or from another party.
As for West Bengal, three Congress MLAs, Asit Kumar Mal, Mhd Ghulam Rabbani and Umapada Bauri, joined the ruling Trinamool Congress, aggravating the sense of crisis within the party already in a sulk over the Lok Sabha poll debacle and vice president Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning. Party leaders tried to draw solace from the fact that neither Rane in Maharashtra nor Biswa in Assam, the two big rebels, had quit the party yet.
The revolt, however, was quite open. Rane, while sending in his resignation as Maharashtra Industry Minister alarmingly said that he refused to be “indecisive” Maharashtra CM Chavan’s “partner in defeat”.