The Bihar elections are proving to be the greatest upset for Congress, led by the Gandhi family. The grand-old-party, as it likes to call itself, has been reduced to an entity that is often called a vote-cutter party by several regional allies that fail to win elections because Congress dents their chances. The same seems to have happened in Bihar where ally RJD won 110 seats, losing the elections to NDA which one with 125 seats despite 15 years of anti-incumbency. It is pertinent to note here that out of the 70 seats contested by Congress, they managed to win only 19 of them.
News has now surfaced that 23 senior Congress leaders have written a letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi demanding that an immediate CWC meeting be called to discuss the poll debacle in Bihar. They have reportedly also demanded organisational elections for the party president’s post be held at the earliest in the view of the electoral drubbing.
According to a Rediff report by R Rajagopalan, five CWC members confirmed to this correspondent that such a letter has indeed been sent this week. The letter reportedly points to the fact that at the peak of Bihar campaigning and even on result day, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were holidaying in Shimla instead of being with the party and leading the way.
In the letter, certain concerns were raised that the Congress leaders feel led to the debacle in Bihar. With the pandemic and Ahmed Patel, who is undergoing treatment for coronavirus, the AICC headquarters at 24, Akbar Road in New Delhi, wears a deserted look with no visible political activity.
Further, the letter seems to point towards a lack of faith in the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Though the CWC had initiated the poll process, insiders feel it will once again be a unanimous/unopposed poll process. Further, their absence while on Shimla vacation has not sat well with the Congress leaders.
Rediff quotes a senior leader as saying, “Can such a casual approach happen in any other party which has a national presence?”
The report quotes another leader saying, “The Congress is run by the spokespersons on television debates only, said one leader commenting on the present political vacuum in the party”.
According to the report, like the last time, Ghulam Nabi Azad is believed to have taken the lead in preparing and despatching letter this time too. “We young leaders have no way out but to be in the Congress for its ideology,” the report quotes former Union minister of state Jitin Prasad.
Letter after Bihar debacle not the first time a dissenting letter was written to Sonia Gandhi by Congress leaders
This is not the first time that dissenting leaders have written to Sonia Gandhi to complain about Rahul Gandhi. A similar letter was also written in August.
A year after its defeat in the 2019 General elections and its steady decline, 23 senior Congress leaders, including 5 former Chief Ministers, many Congress Working Committee members, incumbent MPs, and several former Union Ministers, wrote a letter to interim Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, calling for a complete overhaul of the party, from top to bottom.
On the expected lines, the rebellious letter sparked a furore within the Congress party, with the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi allegedly accusing the signatories of the letter of colluding with the BJP, an allegation that was later denied. Kapil Sibal, one of the signatories of the letter, reacted to Rahul Gandhi’s purported allegations back then, tweeting that he had never expected of being accused of conniving with the BJP. However, shortly thereafter he withdrew the tweet, claiming Rahul Gandhi had personally clarified with him.
The full text of the August letter can be read here.