Resignations attempt to shame old guard into quitting, make way for change: Sources.
New Delhi: More resignations poured in on Sunday ahead of the crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) likely to be held this week with Milind Deora, Mumbai Congress president, Jyotiraditya Scindia, general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh (West), and Youth Congress president Keshav Yadav being the latest to quit.
All three leaders are a part of the new guard or what was known as “Team Rahul” — young leaders handpicked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
While Mr Scindia tweeted that he had handed his resignation to Mr Gandhi 10 days back, accepting responsibility for the party’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Mr Deora said that he was looking forward to play a role at the national level to help stabilise the party, triggering speculation whether he is part of the plan to fill the leadership vacuum at the top in the party.
“I had accepted MRCC presidentship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi. I suggested a panel and am being consulted by leaders to identity names. I look forward to playing a national role to help stabilise the party. Needless to say, I will continue to guide and unite Mumbai Congress” said Mr Deora in a statement issued by his office.
Sources said that the Congress might be looking at an arrangement where a set of three or four young leaders are appointed to lead the party as a collegium, with a senior leader officiating as working president to help them coordinate.
If this happens then a bridge can be formed between the party’s senior leadership and young leaders who seem to have been at loggerheads since the Congress’ disastrous performance in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Other Rahul Gandhi aides who have resigned in solidarity with their leader include his protégés Uttam Reddy, former working president of Telangana Congress, and Girish Chodankar, who gave up the position of Goa Congress president.
Many leaders maintained that the recent resignations mark an escalation in the fight between the Congress’ old and new guard, and Saturday’s resignations particularly should be seen as yet another attempt to shame the party’s senior leaders, many of whom are crucial general secretaries, into quitting in order to effect a structural overhaul of the party.
Since Mr Gandhi’s offer to resign in the last CWC meeting on May 25 and the subsequent public release of his resignation letter, a notable number of the Congress’ young functionaries have resigned taking responsibility for the party’s Lok Sabha defeat, but no one from the party’s proverbial old guard has done so.
Though speculation has been rife after a meeting of the Congress chief ministers with Mr Gandhi last week that Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath have been asked to quit, both had circumvented their replies to the question saying they had offered to resign the day Lok Sabha results were declared.
The resignations, in effect, give an upper hand to the Congress Party’s powerful senior leaders like Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath. Even the CWC, which will have the final say in the matter, is stuffed with seniors. Amongst them only Punjab chief minister and party veteran Amarinder Singh has batted for a “young” leader as Mr Gandhi’s successor.