Battle Royale in Rajasthan

The Congress Party and its dynastic structure is facing one challenge after another but refuses to change its style of functioning or to learn any lessons. Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia (until a couple of months) ago were two bright young leaders who could have injected fervour and dynamism among the young leadership in the Party. They are both capable of putting up a challenge to the BJP which is now trying to capture every space occupied by the Congress Party. But that was not allowed to happen because neither Sonia Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi are willing to vacate the leadership space to be occupied by someone outside of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Even now when the Party is creaking and has lost its moorings, senior Congressmen dare not challenge the leadership. Now there is a clamour for Rahul Gandhi to take on the mantle of leadership. But Rahul Gandhi has proved that even during the biggest crisis of the NDA Government over its handling of the Covid lockdown when the migrant labourers plight became a national spectacle, the Congress could not rise to the occasion except for a few optics.

The Congress lost Madhya Pradesh and now seems all set to lose Rajasthan after a revolt by its Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. In Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia was obscured by Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. It was inevitable that he would leave the Congress and chart out a new leadership role for himself even if it is by joining the BJP. Sachin Pilot too is known to have been sidelined by Ashok Gehlot, another of the old guards and a Sonia Gandhi loyalist. But the nail in the coffin was when a case of sedition was filed against Pilot by his own government. This was Ashok Gehlot’s desperate move and it would be naïve to expect Pilot to take it lying down. Both Scindia and Pilot have realised that the dynasty is reluctant to set aside the old guard and to allow young leaders to steer the Party. They no longer want to remain in the shadow of the dynasty.

At the moment there is a drama going on in Delhi and Jaipur. The tug of war and the claims and counter claims carry on. Pilot is asking for a floor test and that should be the deciding factor. Meanwhile the Congress Party has been losing its young and dynamic leaders, most of them close to Rahul Gandhi. Unfortunately, Rahul Gandhi does not call the shots. Each of these leaders have very grim stories to narrate about how they would meet Sonia Gandhi and inform her of goings-on in their states and ask for change of general secretaries in charge of their states, but how she would just turn down their requests as if she had not heard them. This surely is the beginning of the downfall of the Congress Party.

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