Ideology, tech key areas in Rahul Gandhi’s Congress revival plan

Updated on Mar 20, 2022 07:07 AM IST

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had even sought suggestions in his close circles about leaders who can play a greater tole in the future. In one such discussion in January, the names of Mukul Wasnik, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Sachin Pilot came up.

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, according to a few leaders, had told her confidantes after the working committee meeting that while the G23 is targeting the Gandhi family, no one accepted her proposal in the meeting when she said all three of them, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were ready to step down. (HT PHOTO.)
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, according to a few leaders, had told her confidantes after the working committee meeting that while the G23 is targeting the Gandhi family, no one accepted her proposal in the meeting when she said all three of them, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were ready to step down. (HT PHOTO.)
By, New Delhi

Even as the G23 rebels are mounting pressure and offering suggestions, the Congress leadership is quietly but regularly exploring options and at least in one instance in the recent past discussed possible names who can play pivotal roles in reviving the party that has lost elections as well as talent in the past few years.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, whose functioning style is a major cause of the G23’s concern, has highlighted three key problems in his recent interactions with confidantes and colleagues. According to Gandhi, the three areas are “ideology, organisation and technology”.

In the last Congress working committee meeting on March 13, he mentioned, “You can buy technology from the market, which anyway political parties use these days. But where can you buy ideology?”

Gandhi had even sought suggestions in his close circles about leaders who can play a greater tole in the future. In one such discussion in January, the names of Mukul Wasnik, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Sachin Pilot came up.

Also Read | Ghulam Nabi Azad meeting Sonia Gandhi is a good sign, says Mallikarjun Kharge

Even as some G23 leaders have fired salvoes at the Gandhi family, asking for “inclusive and collective leadership”, a Congress leader claimed Gandhi had asked one of prominent G23 leader to take charge of his home state. “Similarly, Sonia Gandhi had sought names and suggestions from Ghulam Nabi Azad for the party’s revival,” a party leader said, requesting anonymity.

Azad met Sonia Gandhi on Friday and reiterated his suggestion to rejig the Madhusudan Mistry-led central election committee, the top body to decide party tickets, and revive the parliamentary board that once oversaw the Congress’ parliamentary activities.

Sonia Gandhi has regularly been in touch with some rebel leaders but is miffed with at least one MP of the G23, who is unusually vocal in the criticism, two Congress leaders said.

Sonia Gandhi, according to a few leaders, had told her confidantes after the working committee meeting that while the G23 is targeting the Gandhi family, no one accepted her proposal in the meeting when she said all three of them were ready to step down.

Also Read | After poll debacle, Congress faces uphill task of choosing RS candidates

On Friday, Ghulam Nabi Azad tried to set aside the debate and said there was no question on Sonia Gandhi’s leadership and reiterated she had offered to resign but the entire working committee unanimously rejected her proposal and asked her to continue.

At least one G23 Rajya Sabha lawmaker, who is set to retire this year, would not get a renomination, but other leaders such as Azad and Manish Tewari are expected to get important responsibilities in the reshuffle, a party leader said.

Even as Tewari is widely seen as an important G23 leader, communication link between the high command and Tewari remains open. Three days after the working committee meeting, Sonia Gandhi asked Tewari to speak on the party’s poll debacle in Punjab. In January, she had enquired how Tewari was feeling in an online meeting to discuss parliamentary strategy.

The high command has also received a suggestion to appoint at least four working presidents to take care of northern, southern, eastern and western India, another party leader said. This can see some G23 leaders such as Azad into top-ranking positions of the party, the leader said.

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