Ghulam Nabi Azad again: Signs of desperation in Congress party
New Delhi, Nov 24:Six years out of power and at least four more years to suffer, some Congress leaders are showing signs of desperation. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is on top. Always a beneficiary of the leadership’s largesse, Azad has spoken up again demanding elections to all party organs, including DCCs, PCCs, CWC, and AICC in order to strengthen the Congress.
This has raised eyebrows in party circles. Without naming Azad, party spokesman Pawan Khera questioned senior leaders for raising issues in public instead of speaking to the leadership. Congress leader and Haryana MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi openly accused Azad of hatching a conspiracy to split the party at the behest of the BJP. Bishnoi said Azad had no credibility in asking for elections to party posts while he (Azad) himself has grown politically by being nominated to every post starting from J and K Youth Congress President. “What is your history? You have won only three posts…are you talking against the Gandhi family which nominated you to Rajya Sabha on five occasions”, Bishnoi has been quoted as saying in the media.
Bishnoi cannot be more correct. Azad’s ascent to power has been disproportionate to his political base. He climbed up through nominations to all party posts. According to a senior party leader, Azad was general secretary of AICC in charge of India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh four times. It was during his tenure that the Congress party lost maximum in the state electorally. PCC elections were held only in name. They were all filled up through nominations and Azad played the key role, according to the leader. Even in the 2017 AICC session when Rahul Gandhi became party President, Azad manipulated nominations in the PCC, the leader further charged ridiculing his demand for elections to party forums.
Indeed, the Congress party played truant to its own rules of elections to various party bodies. Old-timers say there have rarely been genuine elections to DCCs, PCCs, CWC or AICC. Posts have been mostly filled through nominations. This is because the High Command favored the coterie culture which never encouraged competitive politics. As someone always close to the High Command, Azad was himself responsible for doing away with elections to party forums.
Azad was the seniormost among the group of 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi three months ago demanding a full-time party President and revamp of the organization. This set off reactions in the party dubbing them as rebels. A CWC meeting was called to discuss the letter and steps initiated to make amends. As late as last week, Sonia Gandhi announced the setting up of three high-powered committees. Azad’s media interviews raising party issues in the midst of all this are being seen by many as an affront, more so when Sonia Gandhi is out of town recuperating in Goa.
Many in the party feel the issue is likely to snowball with several senior leaders not taking kindly to Azad’s repeated jibe at the leadership.
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