The Congress “high command” came in for fresh criticism on Wednesday, with senior leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti questioning Delhi micro-managing state units, barely three days after former minister GK Vasan quit the party over the same issue.
Discontent against the central leadership is growing in the party that was humiliated in Maharashtra and Haryana in October after ending up with its worst ever Lok Sabha tally in the summer’s national elections.
“We must rethink this high-command observer culture. We cannot wait for Delhi to show the path in every single way,” Karti said in Chennai.
Karti, who lost the Lok Sabha polls from Sivaganga after his father opted out of the contest, also said the leadership should give state units more freedom.
Vasan and his supporters had blamed party general secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu Mukul Wasnik for their exit, saying the central leadership had repeatedly mishandled its unit in the southern state.
But, the Congress’ troubles go beyond Tamil Nadu.
Former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, both perceived to be close to the “high command”, have faced flak for the defeat in Maharashtra and Haryana. Party colleagues have questioned their failure to retain the states even after being given a free hand in picking candidates and planning campaign.
“We lack a charismatic leader and unless there is someone who can take on the opponents, there is little hope for the party,” a senior leader from Maharashtra said on condition of anonymity.
Even after the poll disaster, Chavan had the support of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take over as the leader of the Congress legislature party, said another state leader.
The party is battling trouble in the east as well. In poll-bound Jharkhand, state leaders got their way with the leadership in ending alliance with the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Had the tie-up continued, many of them would have missed out on a chance to contest polls, said a source. Jharkhand along with Jammu and Kashmir will hold five-phased elections, beginning November 25.
Congress managers are also disturbed about reports of dissent brewing in Bihar unit ahead of the crucial state polls next year. Some leaders have raised a banner of revolt against party general secretary CP Joshi and state chief Ashok Chowdhary over their “arbitrary” decision to dissolve all committees. Many of them are camping in Delhi to press for the removal of Joshi, considered close to Rahul, and Chowdhary.
Further east, Assam leaders are upset with the leadership’s indecision on revamping the organisation.
(With inputs from state bureaus)