NEW DELHI: The Congress in several states appears to be on the verge of imploding with fierce infighting and defection after the Lok Sabha poll drubbing, but the central leadership has gone silent. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who continues to be adamant on his offer to resign, has not made any visible effort to check the slide, though he found time to meet a Chinese delegation on Thursday.
He is slated to go on a three-day thanksgiving visit to his constituency Wayanad from Friday.
Rahul has not met party leaders since he offered to resign at a Congress Working Committee meeting on May 25. He did attend a Congress parliamentary party meeting on June 1, but sources said nothing much related to party affairs was discussed.“With the party president adamant on his decision (resignation) and no clarity as of now, several decisions on the leadership of the party in the Lok Sabha, it's chief and deputy whip in the Lower House, organisational changes and strategies for three state Assembly elections are on hold. We expect some clarity before the Lok Sabha session starts on June 17,” said a top party functionary.
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The latest setback for the Congress was in Telangana where 12 of its 18 MLAs met the speaker and demanded that the party be merged with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Such a big defection of Congress lawmakers has not happened in recent times.
In Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is locked in a bitter fight with fellow party leader, ace campaigner and minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Blaming Sidhu for a host of problems, including the party’s loss in Bhatinda and Ferozpur, Amarinder on Thursday divested him of his plum local government portfolio and made him minister for power.“The top leadership’s silence is impacting morale of workers. The need is to fight back, as losing and winning are part of the game,” said a former minister.
Telangana jolt adds to Congress woes, dents image
While Telangana is the latest headache, there are major troubles in Congress units in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra. In Rajasthan, the increasing rift between CM Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot forced the party in-charge for the state Avinash Pande to acknowledge that it had dented the Congress’s image.
A similar situation prevails in MP where Chief Minister Kamal Nath is fighting a turf war with Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh. The state unit is scheduled to meet on June 7-8 to assess the party’s debacle. It is expected that tempers would run high among supporters of the trio.
All seems to be not well in party’s coalition government in Karnataka with ongoing problems with ally JD(S) but party leaders say the situation is under control. What is worrying party leaders is that time is running out in three states — Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana — where Assembly polls are due later this year.