- In the wake of recent defeats in assembly elections, the G-23 group has become more active than ever
- Party High Command is also feeling coerced to hear them as Sonia Gandhi herself took the initiative of reaching out to them
- If Congress does not work on the suggestions given by these senior leaders, it’s only a matter of time before Party goes into oblivion
Congress is crumbling, the last 8 years of consistent defeats at both national as well as state levels have sagged the spirits of party cadre. This is the only reason why a party being ruled by a dynasty is forced to reach out to its rebel G-23 group.
Sonia meets Azad
In the event of the lurking danger of a breakdown in the party, Congress High Command (that is Sonia Gandhi) is ready to listen to the G-23 group of rebel leaders. Within a span of a few days, Sonia has already discussed Congress’ future course of action with four different leaders of the maverick faction.
Last Friday, Sonia held a meeting with Senior and respected Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Azad is someone who holds significant legitimacy in both rebels as well as a mainstream faction of Congress. According to a report by Indian Express, he pitched in his demands related to more democratization in the internal working of the party. Read how Congress Party functioning is crippled by unilateral decision making.
Sonia reaches out to other rebels as well
After having achieved satisfaction with an hour-long discussion with Azad, Sonia decided to meet various other leaders of G-23. This time, she decided to invite five leaders for detailed deliberation. While two leaders Bhupinder Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan did not attend the party giving reasons that they were out of town, Anand Sharma, Vivek Tankha and Manish Tewari did attend the emergency meeting.
It is also being speculated that Sonia will meet various other leaders of the faction in a few days.
G-23 group would not be happy
However, the series of meetings does not seem to bring positive results for G-23. Instead, it seems to have started a further division in the party. This was evident from Sunil Jakhar’s comment on the issue. According to the Former Punjab Congress president, Gandhi’s meeting with G-23 will only lead to more such leaders undermining Gandhi’s authority in the party.
Sharing some newspaper headings about the aforementioned meetings, Jakhar tweeted, “Indulging the dissenters – ‘too much’ – will not only undermine the authority but also encourage more dissent while discouraging the cadre at the same time.”
झुक कर सलाम करने में क्या हर्ज है मगर
सर इतना मत झुकाओ कि दस्तार गिर पड़े
Indulging the dissenters – 'too much' – will not only undermine the authority but also encourage more dissent while discouraging the cadre at the same time. pic.twitter.com/59DuhBb5vI
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) March 23, 2022
On the other hand, media reports suggest that Sonia Gandhi is also in a mood to not solve the qualms raised by these leaders. According to a report by the Times of India, she shared the grievances of G-23 and listened carefully to their proposals regarding solving these problems. However, when it came to implementation, she is believed to have told them to wait for three months. Congress’ internal elections are to be held after three months.
Evolution of G-23
Ever Since Congress lost the 2019 election, party leaders have been demanding to overhaul how the party works. But, as usual, most leaders’ complaints went unheard in the wake of the Gandhi family’s control over the party. So, finally, in August 2020, a splinter group broke out but remained inside the party.
They wrote a letter demanding change in the functioning of Congress. G-23 senior party leaders were signatories of it. But the party once again refused to work on their suggestions. Moreover, these leaders started to lose support within the party itself. Leaders like Kapil Sibbal, Manish Tiwari and Ghulam Nabi Azad had to face public backlash from the party members. Additionally, Rahul Gandhi once dubbed them as BJP agents too.
Read more: With Congress losing its face in the five-state elections, the party is set to split, and one faction will be led by G-23 leaders
Assembly election defeats were a turning point
But, over some time, these members’ influence kept increasing due to Congress facing more election defeats under their dynasty leadership. The turning point in the equation between G-23 and mainstream Congress came in the aftermath of recent assembly elections results. Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in all five states,
After the defeats, G-23 held unilateral discussions to send in new suggestions for better efficiency in the party. They concluded that Congress High Command is receiving only ‘unsound and half-baked political ideas. They also noted that India’s oldest political party which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wanted to dismantle is on the verge of extinction.
Read more: The real story of India’s Independence – Ch 2 – Why exactly did Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi return to India?
Sonia Gandhi has shown her political acumen by reaching out to these leaders. However, until their suggestions are not worked on and a Non-Gandhian is not elected as party President, it’s next to impossible for Congress to survive the onslaught of BJP.