NEW DELHI :
Over the past few weeks, several young Congress leaders have revolted against the party by either resigning from key posts, joining rival parties, making controversial statements, or accusing the party top brass of not doing enough to safeguard their interests.
Senior party leaders said the change in leadership may have led to the divide between the old guard and young blood. On 10 August, Sonia Gandhi, 72, took over the reins of the party after her son, Rahul Gandhi, 49, resigned as the Congress president.
On Tuesday, Congress leader Milind Deora, 42, was caught in the eye of the storm after a Twitter exchange with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his visit to the US. The Congress leader recalled how his late father, Murli Deora, had played a role in shaping the Indo-US ties and praised Modi’s Texas address. Modi responded to his tweet, recognizing the commitment of Milind Deora.
The exchange led to speculations that Deora was considering his next political move. But soon after, he issued a statement saying those claims were unfounded. “Finally, I am my father’s son. Friendship was the bedrock of his politics. It has earned us friends and well-wishers...I will not compromise on my core beliefs, though politics continues to become increasingly uncharitable and partisan," he said.
The concerns over Deora’s interaction with Modi may have been misplaced, but the bigger worry for the Congress is to take younger leaders, who are unhappy with the senior leadership and hold key organizational posts, into confidence.
In fact, the resignation of Pradyot Debbarman, 41, the chief of the Congress’ Tripura unit, on Tuesday sounded the alarm bells. Debbarman accused the party leaders of “groupism" and “backstabbing" after he was asked by the Congress top brass to withdraw his petition filed before the Supreme Court last year, seeking the implementation of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) in the state.
“I start this day without having to listen to criminals and liars. Not having to worry which colleague will back stab you, not having to indulge in groupism and backchat. Not having to listen to the ‘high command’ on how to accommodate corrupt people in high positions," Debbarman said in a Facebook post.
Likewise, former Jharkhand unit president Ajoy Kumar, 57, had also revolted against the party’s senior leaders before he resigned from the post last month. Kumar, who joined arch rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) last week, had accused the senior brass of seeking “to grab political posts for personal benefits" and making “every attempt to bypass the systems that have been put in place to benefit the party".
There has been trouble even in poll-bound states. In Haryana, for instance, Ashok Tanwar, 43, was replaced as the state unit chief by Selja Kumari, 57. In fact, the Congress is split between Tanwar’s supporters and those backing former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, 72.
“Those who have worked for the party should be respected. The future is for those who work," Tanwar said on Tuesday at a conclave organized by ABP News. The Congress leader said that his removal from the top post in the state has disheartened his supporters.
All the three former state unit chiefs, Debbarman, Kumar and Tanwar, were handpicked and appointed by Rahul Gandhi.