New Delhi: The troubles in Congress are no longer under the carpet. The Punjab virtual 'laughter challenge tamasha' has assumed the spectre of a major crisis.
In 2019, 'Time' magazine had said India's opposition party led by Rahul Gandhi, an "unteachable mediocrity and a descendant of Nehru, is in disarray". The words appear prophetic today.
Senior leaders and once confidants of the 'first family - Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad are speaking out. While Sibal demanded an "open dialogue" and introspection, questioning the lack of clarity in the decision-making process, the former leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad has asked Sonia Gandhi to call the CWC meeting urgently.
Azad has said that developments in Punjab and Goa were "disappointing" and that mass exodus has hit the Congressi - of course, something seen in the grand old in 1996-96 during the lacklustre stint of Sitaram Kesri as the party president.
The fact that leaders from Goa and Assam are deciding to quit the Congress and join Trinamool Congress, essentially a West Bengal-based party, shows the stark reality that the ground is slipping underneath and party loyalists are losing trust.
Sibal also said the G-23 rebel leaders were not part of the "jee huzoori" group, directly referencing the sycophancy and inner circle politics. Worse, all this started when Sonia Gandhi took a step backwards and gave a virtual free hand to her children - Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to run the party show.
The Punjab crisis has escalated with Navjot Singh Sidhu's resignation as Pradesh Congress chief, marking a serious embarrassment for the 'first family' of the party. Both Rahul-Priyanka duo had invested a lot in Sidhu and unceremoniously sacked Capt Amarinder Singh.
In his resignation letter to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu wrote, "The collapse of man's character stems from the compromise corner. I can never compromise on Punjab's future and the agenda for welfare of Punjab. Therefore, I hereby resign as president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress."
Such strong words used for Sonia only show that the grip has started loosening up.
Sibal was emphatic and sarcastic at the same time: "In our party, there is no president, so we don't know who is taking these decisions. We know and yet we don't know." This sounds direct challenge to the neo-leadership.
Moreover, he also shared former CM Capt Amarinder Singh's concern that things should be handled in a mature manner in sensitive Punjab.
"A border state (Punjab) where this is happening to the Congress party means what? It is an advantage to ISI and Pakistan. We know the history of Punjab and the rise of extremism there."
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi-confidant Ajay Maken has hit back at Sibal. So did Chhattisgarh Minister T S Singhdeo, who says Sonia Gandhi herself takes all the decisions.
Amid all these intra-party wranglings, Capt Amarinder Singh met Home Minister Amit Shah in the capital on Wednesday (September 29), raising various questions and pulling up the speculation graph.
Amarinder Singh himself tweeted: "Met Union Home Minister Amit Shahji in Delhi. Discussed the prolonged farmers agitation against Farm Laws and urged him to resolve the crisis urgently with repeal of the laws and guarantee MSP, besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification."
However, there were also hopes raised that the former CM could play mediator and end the crisis.
In 2019 - 'Time' magazine acidly said: "Nehru's political heirs, who ruled India for the great majority of those post-independence years, established a feudal dynasty, while outwardly proclaiming democratic norms and principles. India, under their rule, was clubbish, anglicized and fearful of the rabble at the gates."
Things have now crossed the courtyard gates and reached the doors.
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