Congress fights 3-front battle on road to 2024

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 24: Congress has gone in a huddle once more within a few months in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, to discover magical mantra for redemption. Unlike the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress on day one of Raipur brainstorming revealed that the party has to fight a three-front battle on road to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The steering committee after an engaging discussion decided “unanimously” to entrust the responsibility on the party chief Mallikarjuna Kharge to nominate members to the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the grand old party. So, there will be no elections, and nominated members will decide the directions of the party in future. The move came on the back of a spirited campaign in some quarters of the party which sought elections to force a semblance of democracy.

“The steering committee by way of a unanimous decision, not consensus, decided to ask the party president to nominate members to the CWC. The word here is unanimous not consensus,” stressed Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in-charge of the communication department.

However, a few members of the steering committee indeed called for elections and not nominations for the CWC. The convenient alibi offered by the party is that there is no time to waste on election process, for there are too many challenging tasks in the immediate time span.

The inconvenient truth, however, noted by political observers, is that the principal focus of Congress is to shield the Gandhis from those who seek true democracy. With nomination, the Gandhis will continue to “remote-control” the party affairs.

Congress brainstorming in Raipur also has to find ways for the party to fight the battle on the second front where the regional parties clearly seek to keep the grand old party in the shadow for the post-poll scenario in the 2024 elections. The bitterness spilled over the social media space where Abhishek Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress heir and Lok Sabha MP, and Ramesh exchanged banters. While Banerjee sought to ridicule Congress for its losing streaks in polls after polls, Ramesh returned the favour with “Darjeeling Pact” barb. Assam and West Bengal Chief Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Mamata Banerjee respectively had held a clandestine meeting in Darjeeling ahead of the election for the post of Vice President. The TMC had broken ranks with the Opposition in the election for the post of the Vice President.

The BJP is cleaning up the rank and file of Congress in some of the key states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and others. The BJP gets scale for its victory because of the decimation of Congress in states where the two parties are in direct contests.

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