After former union minister and Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh, Jitin Prasada ditched the party to join BJP, Rasheed Kidwai, a senior journalist close to Congress, has said in a report published in India Today, how it is the Sonia Gandhi factor that is keeping the defectors from leaving the party just yet. Interestingly, while Rashid Kidwai does not say it explicitly, it would seem like as Sonia Gandhi has been trying to keep the party from disintegrated, Rahul Gandhi has been conspicuously absent.
According to the journalist, many senior party leaders have been vocal about the need for a complete overhaul of the party in order to rescue itself from sliding into imminent political oblivion. In fact, ex-party leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Bhubaneshwar Kalitha, Sanjay Sinh, Priyanka Chaturvedi and numerous others had secured posts and positions in the grand-old-party, but still switched because they saw little or no future of the party organisation.
Despite the fact that dissident leaders like Sachin Pilot, Navjyot Singh Sidhu, RPN Singh, and others from G-23 are dissatisfied with the Congress’s leadership vacuum, Kidwai says that they are still sticking with the party only because interim AICC President Sonia Gandhi has “sensed the disquiet”.
How Sonia Gandhi manages to retain RPN Singh despite the buzz of him ditching the party
According to the journalist, there has been a constant buzz in the political circle, that RPN Singh, currently, the AICC’s point man for Jharkhand where the Congress is in power as a junior partner in the Hemant Soren ministry, might ditch the party. Sonia Gandhi had called RPN Singh’s mother, Mohani Singh, a few months earlier to speak with her. Mohani Singh is the widow of the former minister of state for defence in Indira Gandhi’s council of ministers, back in 1980.
Mrs CPN Singh had reportedly assured Sonia Gandhi that RPN Singh, himself a former minister in the Manmohan Singh regime, would not leave the party till the time she is alive.
Sonia Gandhi serves as a facilitator in the standoff between Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Similarly, Sachin Pilot has been patient, according to Kidwai, despite the Rajasthan deadlock having reached a point of no return and Sonia Gandhi, the Congress’s chief, is also credited with this, says the journalist. In his case too, Sonia Gandhi is trying to do a damage limitation exercise. Sachin Pilot is expected to meet Sonia Gandhi, after holding a rally on June 11. The future of the Rajasthan Congress would solely depend on this meeting.
Role of Sonia in the return of Ghulam Nabi Azad to the Rajya Sabha
Likewise, another prominent member of Congress’ group of 23 dissenters (G-23), Ghulam Nabi Azad, was to face an uncertain future in Parliament after his term in the Rajya Sabha is ending on February 15, 2021.
He was unable to renew his RS term from Jammu & Kashmir given the Legislative Assembly there stands dissolved. Here too, Sonia Gandhi came to his rescue.
It was the party supremo that accepted DMK’s proposal of inducting Azad to the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu.
“In some ways, it was the DMK’s proposal that has been accepted by Sonia Gandhi but Ghulam Nabi Azad, a past master in the Congress durbar and loyalty tricks, would credit the Gandhis as his benefactors whenever a formal announcement is made”, claimed Rasheed Kidwai, the journalist known to be in thick with the Congress leadership.
For the unversed, many senior party leaders, including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and others have been vocal about the need for a complete overhaul of the party in order to rescue itself from sliding into imminent political oblivion. About 23 dissenting leaders had shot off a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi back in August last year, emphasising the need for sweeping changes to be made in the party from top to bottom in order to arrest the eroding confidence of the party’s support base.