The cracks in the Karnataka government are widening and snowballing towards an imminent collapse. As state leaders of Congress struggle to keep things in order, the national leadership seems to be living in a parallel universe.
Karnataka state assembly elections in May 2018 were the first major breakthrough for Congress after a string of failures. The party got into the unholy alliance with JD(S) which had almost half the MLAs they had to form the government. However, things have been turbulent ever since.
However, in December 2018, Congress got a new lease on life. The party formed government in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the party has barely managed to get the majority to form the government.
The fall of the Karnataka government may have a bigger psychological impact than the humiliating defeat of 2019.
Who is doing what
Former President Rahul Gandhi is busy celebrating his Twitter follower count crossing a 10 million mark. He is on his way to Amethi where BJP’s Smriti Irani gave him a humiliating defeat in 2019 elections. One has no idea what the interim President Motilal Vora is up to. Vora is also a co-accused in the National Herald scam with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is also busy with cricket so much that he even used cricket analogy to slam the union budget. Meanwhile, the frontrunners for the post of party chief are also missing in action. Perhaps they are busy trying to build the ground for the top post. Poster urging Rahul Gandhi to give Jyotiraditya Scindia ‘national leadership’ was recently seen outside Bhopal Congress office.
Milind Deora resigned as Mumbai Congress chief saying he was looking forward to playing a national role to stabilise the party. However, Deora is conspicuously absent in the Karnataka crisis. Especially when the rebel Congress MLAs are in a Mumbai hotel.
That leaves us with Sachin Pilot. While there is mounting pressure on him to quit as state party chief, his rival and CM Ashok Gehlot is also pegged as possible names as Congress President. None have said a word on Karnataka crisis yet.
What it means for Congress
None of the top contenders to replace Rahul Gandhi as Congress President have gone into firefighting mode to save the Karnataka government. Rahul Gandhi himself is busy celebrating his Twitter followers and visiting Amethi, a constitution he lost. And he is not even attempting to save the government in Karnataka.
While the Congress has been in shambles ever since the 2019 election debacle, it has thus far blamed everyone from the senior leaders of the party to Praveen Chakravarty, their Data Analytics Department head. However, one has to question the part-time politician’s commitment to the profession if while his government falls, the entire party that is led by the Gandhis have simply gone into their snooze mode.
Perhaps the contenders to replace Rahul Gandhi are testing waters to see who ascends the throne first. The party is crumbling right under the nose of the leaders who want to lead it but they just don’t seem to care.