It seems the saga over the new Congress president will play on for another few more months. Ever since Rahul Gandhi resigned from the president’s post, owning moral responsibility for the 2019 election debacle, the Congress has been struggling to get a permanent president. Sonia Gandhi, who is holding the interim charge, has repeatedly made it clear she does not want to continue. In the last one year, a section of leaders have rebelled and has sought a permanent president by holding election. On Friday, after a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, it was announced that a new president will be elected in June 2021.
Underlining everything that is wrong with the Congress, the CWC meeting again reportedly witnessed feisty exchanges between two groups. Senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and P Chidambaram reportedly asked for immediate organizational polls. They are among the Congress leaders who have raised uncomfortable questions over the party’s leadership and management in recent months after multiple election defeats. Ranged against them were the so-called Gandhi loyalists – Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, AK Antony, Tariq Anwar and Oommen Chandy, who said the Congress president’s election should be held after polls in five states, including West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The election to the president’s post will now be held after completion of election to five states.
It is time the Congress looked beyond the Gandhis. The country is going through a difficult period. The minorities, activists, farmers and those opposed to the ruling dispensation are facing a torrid time due to the repressive style of present regime. The opposition parties, in particular the Congress, have failed to protect them. They are busy fighting among themselves. For any democracy to succeed, the role of the opposition is very crucial. Just look at the US, where the Democrats, which was in opposition, managed to win back the post of the president through Joe Biden. Even when they were in opposition, the Democrats strongly battled against the repressive regime of former president Donald Trump and managed to galvanize the opposition voices.