Delusional, arrogant Team Rahul blames critics for defeat
All indications are that the Congress will view those speaking out against Rahul's coterie of advisers as opportunists and rebels, not as loyalists wanting to see real change in the party.
One might imagine that when a former minister and two-term MP from one of the country's most high profile constituencies, South Mumbai, speaks up about the state of affairs that led the party to its most morale- crushing defeat at the general elections, party leaders will sit up and listen. It takes a special kind of mulishness, however, to come up with the response that the Congress party has: A close aide of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi was quoted in The Indian Express as saying those speaking out were "merely jockeying for positions".
Displaying the very arrogance and disconnect with reality that is being spoken about by a rising tide of very troubled Congressmen, the unnamed leader is quoted as having said, "They are making self-serving arguments. A bunch of leaders and ministers created negativity that led to this defeat, and instead of taking responsibility for it, they are now clamouring for bigger positions and blaming the man who prevented a further slide in the party’s vote share."
On Thursday, speaking to the same newspaper, Milind Deora had said those advising the Congress top brass had neither an electoral experience nor any grassroots connect. His colleague from Mumbai who also lost this election, Priya Dutt, chimed in later in the day, drawing attention to a "disconnect" between the party and the people.
Deora has been outspoken in the past, having famously tweeted about a decision deficit in the Maharashtra government several years ago and, more recently, having tweeted against the proposed ordinance to protect convicted Parliamentarians a day before Rahul Gandhi's impromptu press conference on the matter. He defended his quotes on Twitter later, saying he was speaking as a loyal Congressman who wanted to see opportunity in this shock defeat. But the damage had been done, perhaps. He had, after all, told The Indian Express that "people who take the advice" must also bear the responsibility, alongside the ill-informed advisers and those who stayed silent.
This time, the former Mumbai MPs were seconded by senior Congressman Satyavrat Chaturvedi who sought a "ruthless introspection".
The Times of India reported another young leader Jyotiraditya Scindia as saying the party failed to communicate its programmes to the people. Incidentally, communication was handled by Team Rahul. "Increasingly, more and more Congressmen are confessing in private that the young leader (Rahul) possibly lacks the qualities to lead the party," the report said.
There is little doubt who is the target of the first voices of dissent within the Congress.
Writing in Business Standard, journalist Bharat Bhushan says the high command appear to have little clarity about the role of their respective teams. "One relies on people who are afraid of contesting elections and are living off the party, parasitically. The other chooses MBAs, accountants, software experts and city slickers who can converse in English, as his advisors. Neither coterie is a substitute for people connected with the masses. They indulge in palace intrigues while keeping their masters happy. At least now, they should be told to prove themselves by winning a panchayat election to begin with."
The writing is on the wall. The Congress leadership, in all probability, will not read it and will instead go after those seeking reformative measures.
Rumours that the voices of revolt within the party will be quelled have begun.
According to a report in The Economic Times, the Rahul camp is now aligned against a clear anti-Rahul camp, the former advising him to nip this mutiny of sorts in the bud and disallow any attempt to seize the leadership of the Parliamentary Party back in favour of the old guard.
The report says the anti-Rahul camp wants somebody from the old guard to assume the position of Leader of Opposition -- the last thing the Congress will fight for this election, and which depends entirely on the discretion of the Speaker, given that the Congress does not have the numbers to be the principal Opposition party in LS.
This camp wants to clip Rahul's wings, get a veteran elected Congress Parliamentary party leader and also Leader of Opposition. The report said, "By blaming Rahul and his advisors for the poll debacle, the veterans want to ensure that they continue to assert authority over the party and retain it as a "hard-nosed political entity, programmed to rule, instead of turning it into a woolly-headed NGO led by non-political academics and activists," as a senior leader put it."
How much longer before the "camps" realise the battle has been lost?
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