On Monday, the very next day after taking the decision to change Punjab’s CM, the Congress High Command took another major step, by nominating Gandhi family loyalist Rajani Patil as the candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat of Maharashtra, snubbing Milind Deora. This decision has upset many, as it ended chances of many senior leaders of the disgruntled party, to set foot in the Rajya Sabha.
Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Ms Rajni Patil got nominated to the Rajya Sabha bypoll from Maharashtra which is to be held on October 4. She was sent to the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and had even won the best parliamentarian award then. The tenure of the seat, which is until April of 2026, had to be vacated after the untimely death of party leader Rajiv Satav. Patil is known to have close relations with the Gandhi family, especially party president Sonia Gandhi.
A number of senior leaders, at least eight strong contenders, including Mukul Wasnik, former union minister Milind Deora and widow of Rajiv Satav, Pradnya Satav — were also options for the candidature; Mrs. Satav is now likely to be nominated to the State council as per party sources. Through this move, the Congress leadership has outrightly indicated that it will no longer care much for dissatisfaction of party members and resentment in taking major political decisions, as Ms Patil was nominated due to proximity and biasness to the high command.
Faction within the Congress
This is not the first time there is an internal conflict between the Congress Party members, be it Chhattisgarh or Punjab or Karnataka. Interestingly, Congress has frictions in almost all states for different reasons, mostly for the reason of defying the Congress High command.
Back in 2020, after Jyotiraditya M. Scindia’s resignation, Kuldeep Bishnoi, 51, one of the Congress’ young Haryana leaders and son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, tweeted about alleged resentment and disillusionment among Congress leaders across the country.
“@JM_Scindia’s departure is a big blow to @INCIndia. He was a central pillar in the party & the leadership should’ve done more to convince him to stay. Like him, there are many other devoted INC leaders across the country who feel alienated, wasted & discontented. “ Bishnoi added
.@JM_Scindia’s departure is a big blow to @INCIndia. He was a central pillar in the party & the leadership should’ve done more to convince him to stay. Like him, there are many other devoted INC leaders across the country who feel alienated, wasted & discontented. 1/2 https://t.co/oTLXuqTAui
— Kuldeep Bishnoi (@bishnoikuldeep) March 10, 2020
Bishnoi further had also termed the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 a good decision, which was against the Party line chain of commandments.
Following Congress’ disastrous outing in Delhi Assembly polls last year, Maharashtra Congress leader, Milind Deora had tweeted about Kejriwal government’s “fiscal prudence” and got called out by Congress leader Ajay Maken. The in-fighting amongst the party members came out in the open and the bitter exchange of tweets showed that all is not well within the party.
Sharing a lesser known & welcome fact — the @ArvindKejriwal-led Delhi Government doubled its revenues to ₹60,000 crore & maintained a revenue surplus over the last 5 years.
Food for thought: Delhi is now one of India’s most fiscally prudent governments pic.twitter.com/bBFjbfYhoC
— Milind Deora | मिलिंद देवरा ☮️ (@milinddeora) February 16, 2020
Back in June, 2021 when Congress leader Jitin Prasada quit the party to join the BJP, Milind Deora tweeted; “I believe in @INCIndia as a party that can & must reclaim its position as India’s big tent party. We still have a strong bench that if empowered & optimally utilised, can deliver. I only wish that several of my friends, peers & valued colleagues hadn’t left us.”
I believe in @INCIndia as a party that can & must reclaim its position as India’s big tent party. We still have a strong bench that if empowered & optimally utilised, can deliver.
I only wish that several of my friends, peers & valued colleagues hadn’t left us.
— Milind Deora | मिलिंद देवरा ☮️ (@milinddeora) June 9, 2021
Mr Deora, Mr Prasada, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot were considered as the young leaders of the Congress. They had also served while the Congress government was at the centre. Mr Scindia and Mr Prasada have left for the BJP, while Mr Pilot and Mr Deora seem to be upset over certain issues in the party.
It’s almost impossible to quell the factionalism developing within the Congress party. Leaders like Kamalnath, Digvijaya Singh and P. Chidambaram are the reasons why the party’ fortunes have been going down the drain. The party’s leadership has no vision and direction. One of the many reasons why the party High Command refuses provide opportunities for young leaders like Scindia, Pilot, Bishnoi, and Deora is because they defy the Congress party ideology at many grounds in addition to being a threat to Rahul Gandhi’s popularity. At the end of the day, these leaders realize that Congress is all about family politics and that making to the top in such a toxic environment is an almost impossible task. Evidently, Congress, which itself is on a self-destruction spree, is turning its own party members against it.