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Congress: Is Ghulam Nabi Azad leaving the party beneficial for Rahul Gandhi?

  • Saroj Singh
  • BBC correspondent

31 August 2022

photo source, facebook

Congress lost in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Accepting the responsibility of this defeat, Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of President. At that time, their wish was that the rest of the leaders and office bearers should take responsibility for the heavy defeat and step aside.

That is why he wrote in his resignation, ‘It is necessary to determine who is responsible for the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. Many people are responsible for this defeat. As the president, it is not right for me to tell people to take responsibility without taking responsibility.’

Senior Congress leaders have admitted off record that after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, senior leaders should also take responsibility for the defeat. But it didn’t happen.

After three years, Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad have left the party. The name of RPN Singh, Captain Amarinder Singh is also in this list. Some more names are on the waiting list. After three years, the Congress party is likely to get a full-time president. 48 hours after the resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad, the possibility of a new Congress president has become stronger.

The meeting of the Congress Working Committee where the election for the post of President was announced was pre-scheduled.

Workers of the organization

An experienced leader who has been in the Congress for five decades leaving the party can be a big blow to the Congress. Several newspapers also published editorials on what could be the loss of Congress after the resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Experts say that the Gandhi family had predicted that this would happen. Both sides had been preparing for this blow for many days.

Senior journalist Neerja Chaudhary also feels that Azad’s resignation could be a shock to the party.

photo source, facebook

According to him, “Azad is a leader who has come from the last ranks of the party. He knows the organization. He has a grip on the organization. Worked for Congress for five decades. Worked in every state. Workers in every state know him. He has good relations with other party leaders too. Leaving the party and showing the state of the party while leaving is definitely a big blow for the Congress. Like Ahmed Patel, he knows the ins and outs of the Congress party. Among the organizational workers, Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath are the only leaders left in the party.”

Implications for the politics of Jammu and Kashmir

About Ghulam Nabi Azad, it is said that he has no popular support. He became an MP through the Rajya Sabha. He was elected from Washim constituency in Maharashtra in 1980 and 1984. Azad was also the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir but his influence over the people was not visible.

In such a situation, will there be an impact on the politics of Jammu and Kashmir by leaving the support of the Congress? Will there be a change in national politics? Neerja feels that it will be too early to say whether there will be a change in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sonia Gandhi, Congress

photo source, Hindustan Times

photo caption,

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Neerja Chaudhary’s analysis is that, “After Azad’s resignation, 6-8 local leaders have also resigned. They must have taken a decision after studying. If they come to power as part of a small alliance in the future, it will set an example for the restless Congress leadership in other states. Let Sachin Pilot be in Rajasthan.” Or Hooda in Haryana or Siddaramaiah in Karnataka. Staying in the Congress gives these leaders no new horizons and no ray of hope.”

Ghulam Nabi Azad was proposed to head the Jammu Kashmir Campaign Committee in August itself. Azad refused to accept the post. Neerja’s cash was in this direction.

Ignoring seniority

According to senior journalist Rashid Kidwai, “This is not the first time that seniority has been ignored in the Congress party. This has been going on since 2019. Everyone knew what was happening in the party since 2019.

“The meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot regarding the post of Congress president was the last issue in the drama. After this meeting, the discussion of Gehlot’s name for the post of Congress president became more widespread. Ghulam Nabi Azad must have felt bad about this, maybe it was not discussed with him,” says Kidwai.

On August 15, Sonia Gandhi did not come to the AIC office due to corona infection. Ghulam Nabi Azad must have thought that he would get the responsibility of hoisting the flag by seniority. But this responsibility was given to Ambika Soni. After this, Azadi Morcha was organized. Rahul Gandhi had said that Azad should lead this march. Azad had also agreed at that time.”

People who know Azad know that this must have been on his mind as well. Kidwai gives another example in this regard.

In 2019, after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as Congress president, the party did not have a president for three to four months. If Rahul Gandhi had thought, he would have handed over the reins of the Congress party to the senior general secretary. At that time Azad was the pioneer on the issue of seniority.

According to Kidwai, there was nothing wrong in doing so according to the party’s constitution. But Rahul Gandhi did not do that. These three or four things must have added to Azad’s despair.

Good news for Rahul?

The elections for the presidency, which Azad had been talking about for the past three years, were announced within 48 hours of Azad quitting the party. He could have contested the election by staying in the party.

Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sonia Gandhi, Congress

photo source, Getty Images

photo caption,

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi

50-55 percent of the Congress Committee workers who are expected to vote in this election are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In all these states, the state president is close to Rahul Gandhi.

In such a situation, a person from the Gandhi family or a non-Gandhi family who holds weight in these states can be elected as President.

It was not easy for a leader who objected to Gandhi’s leadership of the Congress party to become president.

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