So, it is the post-election season again and as per the latest reports, the all too familiar scenes were witnessed at a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held on Sunday. Sonia Gandhi and her children offered to “sacrifice” anything for the party. However, other leaders of the party insisted they lead the Congress party, at least till the time elections to the post of Congress President are due.
We are, in fact, losing the count as to the number of times the same set of events has taken place. It is almost as if the CWC is controlling the Congress, and this is how the Nehru-Gandhi family is gaining perpetual control of the party. Is it so? Let’s find out.
The “sacrifice” proposal
An Indian Express report states that at the outset, Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have said that if some people feel the Gandhi family is to blame for the current state of affairs and should step aside, then she along with her children was really to do any “sacrifice” for the party. Basically, it was an offer to quit the leadership of the party.
The reply to the offer was based on expected lines and doesn’t come as a major surprise.
Please don’t resign
CWC members immediately turned down Sonia Gandhi’s sacrifice proposal. They requested her to “lead from the front, address organisational weaknesses, and effect necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges.”
There were some bold suggestions though. Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the CWC had witnessed heated exchanges and even walkouts in the past, but, of late, suggestions at the platform to strengthen the party are frowned upon and described as insinuations given at BJP’s behest.
Other CWC members like Digvijaya Singh, K H Muniyappa and Mukul Wasnik advised that Rahul Gandhi should be more accessible. Azad said that both the new Congress President who will take over after elections and the state Presidents should be “accessible, acceptable and accountable”.
So, some suggestions were made but mostly the session was all about re-asserting faith in the Gandhi family leadership.
Why do CWC members keep backing the Nehru-Gandhi family?
But why do we witness similar scenes after almost every single election defeat? Well, the CWC is the top decision-making body of the party, so what it says matters a lot.
The INC President enjoys a lot of influence in the CWC that consists of the President of the party, Congress leader in Parliament and 23 other leaders- 12 elected by the All India Congress Committee and 11 chosen by the party President.
However, the last elections to the CWC were held in 1997 under Sitaram Kesri. As per Indian Express, after Sonia Gandhi became the Congress President in 1998, CWC members were always nominated. The last reorganisation of the CWC too was in March 2018, three months after Rahul Gandhi took over as the party President. He was authorised by the AICC to reorganise the CWC.
Technically, the CWC is the “highest executive authority” of Congress with the power to remove or appoint the party President. However, the party President becomes incredibly powerful when the members themselves are nominated by him/ her. If you nominate someone to a particular post and then tender your resignation to that nominee, it is more or less certain that the nominee will reject your resignation.
So, you see an endless cycle building up. The INC loses an election, holds a CWC meeting, resignations are offered but are rejected immediately. The Nehru-Gandhi family, therefore, becomes a perpetual leader for the party.