Thu, 19 May 2022 05:30 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday left for London to address an 'Ideas for India'. However, Rahul's foreign visit caused a row as it comes at a time when Congress is dealing with its internal crisis and trying to revive itself to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress had also held its three-day 'chintan shivir' in Rajasthan's Udaipur recently to deal with the internal crisis. However, just days after that, the grand old party suffered a massive setback in Gujarat with Hardik Patel submitting his resignation to Sonia Gandhi.
Hardik, 28, accused Congress leaders of being ignorant of Gujarat and Gujarati people. The Patidar leader, who joined the Congress in 2019, further said that he "wasted" three years of his life in the party.
"It is a fact that Congress benefited immensely in the 2017 Assembly polls due to the Patidar quota agitation (led by him). However, I was not given any responsibility even after making me working president. I was not even invited to the key meetings of the party. It never arranged my press conference during the last three years," Hardik said on Thursday.
Hardik's resignation is a massive setback for Congress in Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held later this year. His influence over the Patidar community had helped Congress in the 2017 polls after its tally improved to 77 in the 182-member House.
Not just in Gujarat, Congress also suffered a massive setback in Punjab, where its former state chief Sunil Jakhar resigned from the party. This setback worsened again on Thursday after Jakhar joined the BJP.
"Three generations of my family served the Congress party over the last 50 years. Today, I have broken the 50-year-old tie with Congress over issues of nationalism, unity, and brotherhood in Punjab," said Jakhar after joining BJP.
With this, Jakhar has joined the long list of former Congress leaders, who have joined the BJP in the recent past. It should be noted that speculations are being made that Hardik might also follow Jakhar's footsteps and join the BJP soon.
Congress' crisis is likely to worsen more as several party leaders are reportedly unhappy with the party. Even Congress' regional allies like the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have criticised Congress for "lacking ideology".
"It is Rahul Gandhi’s self-assessment and he is entitled to his opinion, but who gave him the authority to comment on ideology? How are we running the party without any ideology," the JMM said while responding to Rahul's statement that Congress' regional counterparts "lack the ideology" to fight the BJP.
What's next for Congress?
Political experts feel that Congress needs a complete reorganisation. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor in his meetings with Sonia Gandhi had suggested that Congress needs a complete overhaul and focus on 370 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
He also suggested that Congress should fight alone in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar, and form an alliance in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Following the talks, Kishor was asked to join Congress' "Empowered Action Group 2024", an offer he declined.
Later, Kishor took a veiled dig at the top Congress leadership and stressed that the grand old party needs "leadership and collective will" to resolve its structural problems.
"I declined the generous offer of Congress to join the party as part of the EAG and take responsibility for the elections," he said in a tweet. "In my humble opinion, more than me the party needs leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms."