Rahul Gandhi is planning a grand purge in the Congress, and on target are Sonia Gandhi’s loyalists and senior members of the party who have earned a name for themselves for so many years for being loyal and unquestionable proponents of an unending Gandhi rule over the Grand Old Party. According to an explosive report by the Sunday Guardian, Rahul Gandhi has reportedly informed his close aides and members of his ‘cabal’ that he is about to initiate a phased “weed out deadwood” operation, which would mandate forcefully retiring senior leaders of the Congress who have crossed the age of 70.
The report also states that Rahul Gandhi has proposed the unprecedented blueprint for weeding out Sonia Gandhi’s loyal guard to accommodate his own supporters and leaders from the younger generation. A day after the dramatic CWC meet, Rahul Gandhi, during a virtual conference with his loyalists, made it clear that he was looking for a “transformative change and not any incremental change” in the party. If Rahul’s ambitious blueprint is turned into reality, senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ahmed Patel, P. Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh and Mallikarjun Kharge are very well staring at the prospect of being side-lined after their Rajya Sabha terms come to an end.
This also means that Congress’ few remaining Chief Ministers like Captain Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot and V. Narayanasamy are serving their last tenure as state heads, and will be forced to give their seats after their terms get over. Apart from such leaders, the political fortunes of Kamalnath, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Siddaramaiah are practically dead. A closer look at the members who are faced with the prospect of being weeded out of the party will reveal that almost all of them are Sonia Gandhi loyalists. As such, it is highly unlikely that the current interim Congress President is in on this plan along with her son.
The Sunday Guardian also reported how it was unlikely that Sonia Gandhi will allow the said plan to fructify. However, going by the assertive tone of Rahul Gandhi during his online talks with loyalists, it is expected that he would be personally seeing to the fact that his grand plan of imbibing the Marg Darshak Mandal formula of the BJP succeeds in the Congress as well. However, this would also signal a never seen before tussle, between Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, as the latter takes upon himself the task of ridding the party with the former’s seemingly overaged loyalists.
Digvijay Singh, meanwhile, has revealed that the now full-blown discontent in the party has been simmering and taking shape for quite some time, with the same being initiated following the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President last year and Sonia Gandhi assuming role of interim chief. Singh also said that another reason for the discontent was Rahul Gandhi wielding power within the party, and taking important decisions from behind the curtain, despite stepping down as the party chief.
The young faction of Congress is steadfastly standing behind Rahul Gandhi, while the status-quo reaffirms their faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. As such, it is perhaps for the first time that a rift between the two factions has come out in the open so blatantly, with Rahul Gandhi, not shying away from locking horns with the interim Congress chief.
The purge of senior leaders which is being planned by Rahul Gandhi comes in the backdrop of the infamous “dissent letter” being shot off to Sonia Gandhi by the senior-most of Congress leaders. According to Sunday Guardian, Rahul Gandhi said that such leaders, despite being allowed to rise to pivotal positions, “their ambitious appetite remains unquenched.” Leaders like Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad and others, not thinking twice and going ballistic in front of the media seems to have formed the biggest reason why Rahul Gandhi now intends to kick the senior leadership out of the party and bring in the younger guard to fill in their shoes.