NEW DELHI: A rather young Canadian sci-fi writer recently wrote: “Each meeting happens at a precise moment of which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the maximum impact on (our) lives.” It is, surprisingly, how an AICC functionary described ‘a rather curious’ meeting of the party’s general secretaries, now rescheduled from October 13 to 20, just a day after Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly election results are out.
Scheduled to take place at the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road, it’s being labelled ‘curious’ for two reasons. One, the agenda of the meeting is ‘not known’ and two, it’s also not clear who will chair the meeting. Neither Congress president Sonia Gandhi nor its second-in-command Rahul Gandhi is expected at the meeting called by the party’s general secretary Janardan Dwivedi. If Dwivedi’s chairs the meeting, it will be not just unusual but also unprecedented. Already C P Joshi is claiming no such meeting to take place, but the invite for the meeting and its postponement has been received, Madhusudan Mistry confirmed.
The meeting is taking place on October 20, a day after the results are declared, the atmospherics and the agenda are sure to change. In both states the party high command has played along with the incumbent Chief Ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan, allowing them a free hand for better or worse.
In Maharashtra, the Congress is fighting the elections alone, breaking up with ally NCP.
In Haryana, it is virtually a Hooda Congress. Old hands, Birender Singh and Rao Indrajit Singh quit to join BJP. Two prominent women leaders, Kumari Selja and Kiran Choudhury, have been decisively sidelined. The disgruntlement, therefore, runs deep.
The Congress is in a dilemma whether to go ahead with the UPA experiment to check the BJP or finally adopt Rahul Gandhi’s ‘go it alone’ line. Other than the RJD or JD-U for survival, no other regional party is willing to ally with the Congress in any case. Besides, Congress local units want no truck with TMC, DMK, NCP, RJD, Samajwadi Party, National Conference (J-K)or YSR Congress and want the Central leaders to go it alone. All this may come up at the mini brainstorming of the party.
In UP, for instance, Congress leaders like Salman Khurshid wants to ally with the BSP but the others, including AICC’s state in-charge Mistry opposes. The BSP in any case does not believe in pre-poll alliances. A chintan shivir could follow.
The Congress may fight the coming Jharkhand Assembly polls with the RJD, JD(U), JMM and other parties, but it is left with no friends in key states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. So, chances are that Rahul’s line will finally be adopted, as options are few.