Ghulam Nabi Azad: Victim of Circumstances?
New Delhi, March 1: It is less than fair to attack senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for a word of praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and impute motives for the same. After all, it started with the PM himself and reciprocating a sentiment is a courtesy that must cut across all divide, including political. It is another matter that a hurtling Congress at war with itself is in disarray and looks for alibis for its own failures. Will Azad become a victim of circumstances?
The Jammu meeting of Azad and other senior party leaders was yet another reminder to the Congress high command that it must put its acts together and take on the resurgent BJP. Instead of taking the hint and pacifying them, it fielded a party spokesman to pick holes and criticize the meeting. Rather than holding the meeting in Jammu, the spokesman said, the senior leaders should go to the poll going states to strengthen the Congress.
It is almost six months since the Group of 23 wrote to Congress President Sonia Gandhi seeking urgent changes in the party set up to make it more responsive. A CWC meet called to discuss the matter turned out to be a weak exercise to paper over the issue. The much awaited AICC meet is still away in the horizon with no time frame announced. The G 23 leaders have every reason to feel restless. Pertinently, none from the group seems to have been drafted for work in the four states going to the polls.
After the PM’s tearful farewell to Azad from Rajya Sabha a few days ago, there was a hushed campaign within the Congress against the senior J and K leader. He seemed to have been left alone to fend for himself. It recoiled with several of his senior colleagues, including Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal, joining hand with Azad . Anand Sharma too was the target of a calumny recently for a soft praise on Modi and his Government. Kapil Sibal had already stood out for speaking to the media asking for action to revive the party.
An atmosphere is fast building into the party in which a section of Congress leaders (read G 23) is openly arraigned against the leadership. The other and pro-leadership section of senior leaders will soon be forced to come out openly against the ‘rebels’ making it complicated for the high command. How it pans out in the days ahead is not difficult to imagine. The grand old party is bound to suffer reverses in the short run. It is already marginalized in West Bengal. There is hardly any ray of hope in Assam. Once a stronghold, Tamil Nadu offers no prospect. It lost power in Puducherry and has little hope of coming back. Its chances are not bright in Kerala either, judging by the results of recently held panchayat and local body elections in the state.
Much is being read into the forthcoming AICC session which will decide on a new leadership and perhaps a revamped CWC . By all indications , however, the more the party struggles for a recharged leadership the more it appears to remain the same.
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