Remember, Praveen Chakravarty, the man who was blamed for the Congress’ debacle during the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year? Recently, several media reports had emerged disclosing whisper campaign within the Congress blaming Chakravarty, the head of Congress, data analytics department for providing fake surveys and cooked up data to the former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi giving the impression that the party was heading towards a massive resurgence during the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. In a move that dispels this theory maligning Praveen Chakravarty, the grand old party’s data analytics department has been reorganised as the Technology and Data cell with Praveen Chakravarty at the helm of affairs.
In an official order, K. C. Venugopal, Congress General Secretary (Organisation), said, “Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has approved the proposal to reorganise the All India Congress Committee Data Analytics as AICC Technology and Data Cell within the organisation. Praveen Chakravarty will be the chairman of the cell.” As per Venugopal, the reconstituted cell will be responsible for performing functions like maintaining and providing data analysis, maintaining a central database, digital membership process, development of an appropriate system, etc. Therefore, the reorganised cell seems to have been allocated the responsibilities which are to be typically performed by a data analytics cell. As such, there is not a sea change in the role that Chakravarty has to play.
Praveen Chakravarty has therefore been retained even after serious allegations were made against him within the grand old party, according to media reports. Two big investigative stories had come out quoting anonymous sources from within the Congress. The theme was similar in both the stories- Praveen Chakravarty misled the Congress. He had been blamed for ‘working in silos’, ‘being arrogant’, ‘un-cooperative’ and other such epithets. In fact, in the ET story, one party insider even termed him a ‘super president’ of the party for the last six months, essentially saying everything that happened in the Congress party was done through Chakravarty and he was the single point of contact of Congress party president with the rest of the party and the real world. Hence, Rahul Gandhi could not make clear decisions as Chakravarty was misleading him. A Sunday Guardian story even called Chakravarty a ‘mole of BJP’, quoting a Congress leader.
The fact remains that the analytics head couldn’t have staged a turnaround when the party and its leadership didn’t enjoy much popularity among the electorate. Rahul Gandhi had already failed time and again as a party leader in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and when the brand itself had failed miserably, the support staff could not have done much about it. It was always clear that Chakravarty was being scapegoated for hiding Rahul Gandhi’s failures. When the party’s prime ministerial candidate’s image did not at all resonate with the voters, everyone within the grand old party including Chakravarty was rendered ineffective. Congress can rope in the best of professionals from every walk of life and still fail to succeed given the leadership vacuum at the apex of the party structure. The retention of Praveen Chakravarty by the Sonia Gandhi led party makes it clear that the technology and data cell head was indeed being scapegoated for Rahul Gandhi’s failures. Had he been responsible for the party’s catastrophic defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, he would have never been retained in the same position.