After the Congress party faced a humiliating defeat in the recent assembly elections in five states, many senior leaders and veteran loyalists have been raising questions over the party’s functioning and leadership. Recently, former Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela stated, “Handling UP affairs to Priyanka was a political misfire”.
As per reports, Vaghela stated, “There are expectations from the party high command. High Command means Soniaji and Rahul Gandhi. That should have happened at the right time for Priyanka. Political misfire happened when Priyanka was made the General Secretary of UP”.
“I pray that the problems engulfing the Congress Party erupt into the flames in the Holika Dahan,” Vaghela stated.
Vaghela’s statement has come a day after he attended the so-called ‘G-23’ meeting at the residence of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Delhi. G-23 is a group of senior Congress leaders who have been demanding a structural and administrative overhaul within the party, indirectly opposing the leadership by the Gandhi family.
Vaghela also hinted that Priyanka is yet untrained, hence giving her the responsibility of UP may have been a mistake. “Everyone has a career and there should be grooming… In UP, Priyanka was handling everything but this election (result) also tarnished Priyanka. There are no more right advisors”, Vaghela was quoted in a New Indian Express report.
Generation gap in leadership
Vaghela also added that there is a lack of discussion and dialogue at the leadership level. “Rahul Gandhi is not a bad person. But Sonia Ji used to listen to everyone. There is a question mark because of the generation gap.”
Vaghela, who had resigned from Congress in 2017 and has not been associated with any other party, added that Congress lost power in Madhya Pradesh and is also barely surviving in Rajasthan. Punjab could have been handled better. “Someone should have advised Rahul Gandhi not to change horses in an ongoing race. Such a situation should not have happened in Punjab,” Vaghela stated of the political fiasco in Punjab, making Amarinder Singh resign, making Sidhu the party president and then making Channi the CM.
If Ahmed Patel were alive, Congress would have been in a better position
Vaghela added that after the death of Ahmed Patel, there is no one in Congress to give proper advice to the Gandhi family, and the entire party is suffering because of that.
“The recent performance of Congress in elections shows the party is suffering because of Ahmed Patel’s absence. After his demise, there is no one to take his place and guide the leadership. If the party had found his replacement, there was no reason to form this G-23,” NIE report quoted him further.
UP loss a blot in Priyanka’s career
Adding that giving the responsibility of a major state like UP to ‘inexperienced’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was a ‘misfire’, Vaghela stated that the loss in UP is now a blot in Priyanka’s career. “There is no one to advise the leadership (Gandhi family). The G-23 leaders are not revolting against the party. They just want the leadership to listen to them. No one listens to them”, he added.
He again lamented the loss in Punjab, adding that even a political novice should know that it is wrong to remove a sitting CM just months ahead of elections.
Vaghela added that politics is a full-time job. Taking an indirect dig at Rahul Gandhi, who is often away on international vacations, Vaghela added that Rahul Gandhi’s advisors should have told him that politics is not a part-time job.