AS THE Congress readies itself for a bigger political fight ahead in the state, the internal feud within the party’s Varanasi unit’s is at its peak. The one-time bastion of Congress during the era of late Kamlapati Tripathi, trusted lieutenants of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi —- Varanasi is now witness to internal fights between two Congress groups.
The two groups —- one patronised by Rajeshpati Tripathi, grandson of late Kamlapati Tripathi and another by local MP Rajesh Mishra — are witness to feuds since a long time with no state level leader making any effort for a rapprochement.
Though the two factions started resorting to mud-slinging when Congress high command finalised candidature of Dr Rajesh Mishra for 2004 Parliamentary polls from Varanasi, the party’s winning the seat facilitated widening of cracks in the party.
Instead of celebrating the victory, those opposed to Mishra group started looking for faults and the result of recent civic polls provided ammunition for this group to fire at the MP-led faction.
Despite the Congress performing well in Varanasi outskirts winning chairmanship of Nagar Panchayat Gangapur and chairpersonship of Ramnagarpalika Parishad elections and a good vote percentage in the mayoral and corporate elections, the other faction is raking up the issue of Congress losing some corporate seats in Varanasi.
The MP-supported group of Congress activists is reported to have called on Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and explained the reasons of the debacle in the party and winning of Nagar Panchayat and Nagar Palika elections in some towns.
To counter this, former Congress district president Satish Chaubey, who is backed by Rajeshpati Tripathi, at a press conference informed that his workers would also call on senior party leaders at New Delhi and explain reasons for the party’s loss in the civic polls. Both factions are trying to browbeat each other by one way or the other, charging each other with playing spoilsport in the polls.
The Mishra group, it may be mentioned managed replacement of Tripathi-backed district and city Congress president by his own. This aggravated the problem between the two factions. It may be mentioned that the Congress high command gave local MP Rajesh Mishra the charge of handling civic polls in Varanasi.