NEW DELHI: The Congress, which has been somewhat outsmarted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election blitzkrieg in Haryana and Maharshtra, now seems to be worried about his “usurping of the party icons” from the past and prominent faces from the present ranks.
If Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were the latest from the Congress pantheon that Modi “poached” leaving the grand old party seething, it was his open praise for Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the party’s high-profile MP Shashi Tharoor, which has made the party a bit nervous.
Of these, the party is certainly picking on Tharoor for having accepted the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become an ambassador of the Swachh Bharat campaign.
The powerful Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) is expected to send a report to the AICC suggesting what “disciplinary action” could be taken against Tharoor. Unlike Tharoor, Gogoi, who too came in for Modi’s praise for joining the cleanliness drive, has the immunity of Rahul Gandhi’s staunch support and that might see him through despite internal bickering.
Meanwhile, the All India Congress Committee is trying to put up a brave front.
According to Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed, “The Congress party is full of leaders, who have fought for the freedom of this country and cannot be ignored.
We do not mind, if their contributions are acknowledged.”
He said in reply to a query on why Modi was taking over Congress icons -- Sardar Patel, Gandhiji, Nehru and Indira -- instead of focusing on the Sangh’s own Guru Golwalkar, K B Hedgewar or Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. The unease was quite tangible.