The rift within the Congress party is now out in the open. With senior most leaders of the Grand Old Party assembling in Jammu to felicitate former MP Ghulam Nabi Azad – a clarion call was sounded for the Gandhis to stop weakening the party, and join hands to strengthen it. The leaders who gathered in Jammu were almost entirely composed of the infamous ‘G-23’ group, which has been at the forefront since August last year in demanding radical, constructive and fundamental change within the party. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Vivek Tankha among others were in attendance. One man’s absence, however, has got many analysts thinking.
One would expect Shashi Tharoor – who reportedly spearheaded the G-23 movement within the party, to be among those attending the event at Jammu accompanied with a contingent of cameras. After all, it was the same group of senior leaders who Tharoor had first brought together during a dinner to rebel against the Gandhis making their first public appearance. How and why Shashi Tharoor would give such an important event a skip is something which must be looked at in terms of pure, ruthless and self-serving politics.
It seems that Shashi Tharoor has let his ambitions get the better of him, which is why he is back to mind-numbing levels of pro-Gandhi sycophancy these days. From vouching to spearheading the ‘reform Congress’ crusade, to now sneaking out of the same, Shashi Tharoor seems to have worked a miracle to derail the careers of the senior most Congress leaders, while himself winning the trust of Sonia Gandhi as her lone loyalist.
The G-23 leaders are being side-lined by the Gandhis, being ripped off their titles, being dismembered from Parliament – while the leader who initiated the rebellion conveniently chickens out when push has come to shove. By alienating some of the most senior members of the Congress, Shashi Tharoor has secured his own position in the party, especially before the Kerala assembly elections where the Congress is hopeful of forming a government. Tharoor would most definitely want to be the chief ministerial face of the party – for which he needs to desperately remain in the good books of the Gandhis.
TFI had reported last year itself that Tharoor seems to be having no less than presidential ambitions for himself. Tharoor had said that he certainly thinks Rahul Gandhi has the “mettle, capability and aptitude to once again lead the party”, but if he does not wish to do so then the party must “take action” to elect a new chief. Having too many contenders would make such plans of Tharoor impossible to achieve. However, now that a select number of Gandhi loyalists remain in the Congress – Shashi can practically get whatever he desires from the party.
It is no coincidence that Shashi Tharoor is back to trying to win-over the Gandhis with his inane tweets and remarks of late. Tharoor’s experiment has imperilled the Congress, which now stares at the prospect of being split into factions – or worse for the Gandhis – into separate parties. One man and his voracious ambitions will be responsible for the same.