Days after the Election Commission of India announced the poll dates for the assembly election in five states, bitter internal feud in the Congress is exploding. A group of 23 Congress leaders who have charged the party’s leadership, in particular the Gandhis, of inaccessible and inconsistent direction, have again attacked the party over alliance and other issues. Anand Sharma, former union minister, who is a member of what has been nicknamed the ‘G-23 club’ on Monday questioned the move of the Congress to forge an alliance with Indian Secular Front cleric Abbas Siddiqui, who is the peer or chief cleric of West Bengal’s Furfura Sharif, a revered Muslim shrine. This comes days after another member of the rebel group, Ghulam Nabi Azad, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attack his own party.
Sharma’s attack has drawn sharp response from Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is the Congress president in Bengal. At a time when the party should be concentrating on fighting the election, the Congress is exploding and it is giving a clear edge to the BJP. The principal opposition party is crumbling. It has been failing to put up a fight against the formidable BJP and has suffered several defeats in the last six years. Many of its leaders have left the party and joined the BJP. It seems the trend will continue with a few leaders definitely making the move to join the BJP. Unless the Congress resolves its leadership issue, it is going to cause problems in the party. Sonia Gandhi has been functioning as interim president and has made it clear that she no longer wishes to continue. The grand old party will have to first elect a permanent president and then work to rebuild the party. For any democracy to flourish, the role of opposition parties is very critical. But the Congress has been failing short in this regard and it is a matter of concern for the whole nation.