Does Congress really need Rahul Gandhi to keep the party together?

Defending Rahul Gandhi has become a standard operating procedure for the congress party

The simmering discontent in Congress over its leadership has once again come to the fore as many leaders have voiced their concerns over party’s poor show in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand polls. It may come as a surprise but Rahul’s campaigns have often worked in BJP’s favour. The 45-year-old addressed 54 rallies covering 46 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. But the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance won just seven of these while the BJP won the rest 38 seats. Despite Rahul’s relentless campaigning and his unbridled rhetoric on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party was handed down a humiliating defeat.

Even in Punjab where Congress got a thumping majority, Gandhi campaigned in 15 constituencies and the party won on only seven of them. It is Captain Amarinder Singh who is credited with the victory of the grand old party in Punjab.

Defending Rahul Gandhi has become a standard operating procedure for the grand old party but it has lately become  an uphill task, even  for the Gandhi family loyalists given the unprecedented number of defeats the party has faced under his leadership.

The latest leader to express his angst against the party leadership is former MP Sandeep Dikshit. The Congress leader took a swipe at party high command saying, “We have become an extremely confused party and need a new soul to resurrect the party which is facing its worst crisis since Independence.”

“Congress is being run like Zamindari. We have turned into a club. Congress has become a patronage-based party. There are serious problems which need to be resolved,” he said while speaking at the primetime show on a TV channel.However, he refrained from making any direct comment on the Gandhi scion

When asked why is Rahul Gandhi shielded even after party leaders like Sanjay Nirupam and Raj Babbar are willing to quit over the poll debacle in BMC and UP polls, Dikshit said that he is not going to put it on one individual, they have contributed to the party in one way or another. As we all know, Mr Gandhi is required to keep the party together. Many at the top should think about their roles and decide if they could better in other areas.

Earlier party leader KV Thomas expressed concern over the poll drubbing in UP and urged the Congress leadership to rise to the expectations of the people.

“People still believe that the Congress is the party which can lead the country against Narendra Modi The party should improve its functioning in tune with that aspiration,” he told Indian Express. Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily was the first to demand a major surgery in the party. Today, Congress whip in Rajya Sabha Satyavrat Chaturvedi echoed him, saying the need of the hour was a “cardiac surgery”. “It has been three years (since the 2014 defeat). Nothing has happened so far. Everyone was waiting something will happen and are tired now. We have lost hope. And the results are before us,” Chaturvedi said.

There is no dearth of political leaders in Congress who can be pitched for national leadership. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Jitendra Singh are young leaders with proven credentials. Recently, a petition on Change.org  was launched which called for senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor to be the party’s next prime ministerial candidate in 2019 General Assembly elections.

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