The much-awaited meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the Congress party’s highest decision-making body, has turned out to be a spectacular non-event. Instead of announcing substantive organisational changes urgently needed for this near-moribund national opposition party, the CWC meeting reaffirmed the Gandhi family’s primacy over the Grand Old Party. It yielded a reiteration of Sonia Gandhi’s position as full-time president (though she has been an interim one since 2019) and a long-term deadline for organisational elections between August 21 and September 20 nex.....
The much-awaited meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the Congress party’s highest decision-making body, has turned out to be a spectacular non-event. Instead of announcing substantive organisational changes urgently needed for this near-moribund national opposition party, the CWC meeting reaffirmed the Gandhi family’s primacy over the Grand Old Party. It yielded a reiteration of Sonia Gandhi’s position as full-time president (though she has been an interim one since 2019) and a long-term deadline for organisational elections between August 21 and September 20 next year. Most remarkable has been the unctuous loyalist demand for Rahul Gandhi to take over from his mother, a role the scion has said he would consider — this after resigning for the party’s dismal showing in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This unofficial vote of confidence in Mr Gandhi takes place against the background of continuing turmoil in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab and a second round of open unrest expressed by 23 senior party stalwarts — the famed G23.

Mr Gandhi, who has continued as de facto president after his resignation, has almost single-handedly led the party to disaster since 2014. The Congress has been unable to muster sufficient numbers in the Lok Sabha to furnish a leader of the opposition for two consecutive terms. Although the party did score victories in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh in 2018, it has lost more states through sheer ineptitude. Since the 2019 Lok Sabha rout, which saw Mr Gandhi lose the family pocket borough of Amethi (though he won handily in Kerala), the party lost power in two states through sheer mismanagement. The party lost Madhya Pradesh because of Mr Gandhi’s inept handling of infighting between then chief minister Kamal Nath and his confidant Jyotiraditya Scindia. He mismanaged the admittedly mismatched coalition in Karnataka, resulting in mass resignations and the loss of a trust vote opened the door for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

 
The rout in Assembly elections in May 2021 — Assam, West Bengal, and Kerala — has emphasised his breath-taking ineptitude that resulted in the unprecedented letter by the G23 to Sonia Gandhi, asking for “sweeping changes” in the party in August last year. This yielded some cosmetic changes to the CWC. The Punjab crisis, which saw the exit of one of the party’s most capable chief ministers, prompted another letter from the G23 — plus a press conference — seeking clarity on who ran the party. Former minister Kapil Sibal’s quip that they were the G23, not ji-hazoor 23 (yes men) has evidently irked. But Ms Gandhi’s post-CWC riposte that the G23 should not communicate with her through the media because she was a full-time, hands-on president only underlines her regal unavailability to senior dissidents and an unwillingness to listen to unpalatable news when it comes to her family. The CWC’s decisions amount to kicking the can down the road and maintaining the disastrous status quo when several key elections are due next year — Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab.

Key stories on business-standard.com are available to premium subscribers only.

Already a premium subscriber?

Subscribe to get an across device (Website, Mobile Web, Iphone, Ipad, and Android Phone applications) access to Premium content, Breaking News alerts, Industry Newsletters, Stock and Corporate news alerts, access to Archives and a lot more.


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel
Read More on

CONGRESS WORKING COMMITTEE

CWC MEET

BUSINESS STANDARD EDITORIAL COMMENT

OPINION

EDITORIALS


Most Read

Markets

Companies

Opinion

Latest News

Todays Paper

News you can use