BHOPAL: Growing dissent against Rahul Gandhi’s leadership has begun causing fissures in the Madhya Pradesh Congress, with several party leaders assigning blame for the party’s disastrous defeat to the Gandhi scion.
Party leaders here questioned the competence of the Congress vice-president and said that along with anti-incumbency and inflation, he was one of the major reasons behind the party’s dismal performance.
The party leaders, requesting anonymity, said Rahul’s inability to understand the ground realities, scant interactions with state party leaders, arrogance and impulsive ventures lacking proper planning had weakened the party.
“It has been more than 10 years since Rahul became active in the Congress. Can you cite a single achievement of his? Rather than doing things that would benefit the party, his actions have weakened it.”
“Inspired by the suggestions of his coterie like Meenakshi Natarajan, he introduced the process of elections in the NSUI and Youth Congress.”
“Due to this, both the organisations crumbled as rivalries flourished. The NSUI and Youth Congress members used to play a major role in booth management during the polls, but this time they were not seen,” a city-based party functionary said.
One of Rahul’s major shortcomings, according to state Congress leaders, was his reluctance to engage with them. “During campaigning, he would alight from his helicopter, get into the waiting car, address the rally and then leave for Delhi.”
“He wouldn’t even notice or acknowledge the presence of many of the leaders, who had waited for him for hours. Rather than talking and taking useful inputs from these leaders and workers, he chose to believe in Delhi-based leaders who, just like him, were not aware of the ground realities,” a senior state party leader, who is presently in Delhi, said.
The party workers are of the opinion that Sonia Gandhi needs to accept that Rahul has failed.
“We have been talking to our colleagues in other states and they too feel that Rahul needs to take a backseat and let his sister, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, lead the party. However, bringing Priyanka in would be tantamount to admitting that Rahul has failed.
“Party leaders want to remain in Sonia’s good books and are afraid to tell her that Rahul has failed,” a former Union Minister said.
He added that until accountability was fixed at the top, the Congress would continue to falter.
“This whole hue and cry over the 2014 polls will go on for another month and then the party will start focusing on the Assembly elections that are scheduled to be held this year. Unless and until a major shift in power takes place at the top, do not expect the party to bounce back,” he added.