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Innocent Admission

Jitin Prasada’s exit is setback to Congress G-23 dissenters too

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New Delhi, June 13, 2021-
The high profile exit from the Congress party has set the alarm bell ringing with Sonia Gandhi meeting senior Congress leaders to get the feedback about organisational changes in the party which are ongoing in the states but major changes at the AICC level are expected too.

While Jitin Prasada moved over to the BJP, the congress G-23, which is now reduced to 22, the group of which the former Congress leader was part of, has launched the direct attack on Prasada and questioned his ideological commitments. Both Kapil Sibal and Veerappa Moily who wanted sweeping reforms said that his ideology was in doubt. The former Karnataka Chief Minister even suggested that people like him (Jitin) should not be promoted in the party and governments.

“Jitin Prasada joins the BJP but the question is, will he get ‘prasada’ from the BJP or is he just a ‘catch’ for UP elections? In such deals if ‘ideology’ doesn’t matter, changeover is easy,” Sinal had said.

The reason behind the criticism is that the dissenters fear that they might lose the credibility, said an insider while reiterating that Sibal and Moily’s ideological commitments are beyond doubt. But the group which was pushing for reforms is now on backfoot as the loyalist may turn the table citing Prasada’s case.

There has been aspersion on the group since the letter was leaked to media last August and many leaders including Kumari Selja made allegations on the group and even Rahul Gandhi had questioned the timing of the letter since Sonia Gandhi was in hospital at that time.

While Sonia Gandhi has stepped in to control dissents and is now talking to leaders to put the house in order through consent and is taking the middle path.

But after the departure of UP leader and former Union Minister Jitin Prasada, the chorus for reforms within the Congress has grown louder with a section of leaders calling for a “major surgery” in the party.

Kapil Sibal, one of the vocal members of the G-23 had criticised Prasada — a fellow signatory — for moving to the BJP calling it “prasada politics”, reiterated that the issue which had been highlighted in the letter remains and the party should look into it, if it does not want to face the consequences.

Another leader who is batting for “major surgery” within the party is Veerappa Moily who said that party should build regional leadership and only promote committed people who are faithful to the ideology of the Congress. He said that Prasada’s ideology was in doubt and the party should think before promoting such people.

The Congress, which is reeling after its defeat in 2014 and 2019 general elections, had already seen an exodus of leaders from Assam followed by Goa, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, leading to losing its grip in these states. Before Jitin Prasada, it was Jyotiraditya Scindia, who left the party along with his supporters, leading to the collapse of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.

However, Congress insiders say that “these young people want power without any effort and do not have commitment towards the party”.

The party exists because of lakhs of Congress workers, not the leaders who switch side for personal gains, said a party leader, speaking on condition of anonymity. But the larger question remains that the leadership is unable to hold the people because of its electoral defeats, the leader added.

The larger question raised by many is about ideology which is the core to Congress, and those who differ with the ideology should not be promoted to the top echelons of the organisation or the government, say leaders.

Meanwhile, the Congress is facing tough time to resolve issues in Punjab and Rajasthan, where it is ruling, as younger leaders demand their due even as it has to prepare for a string of key polls next year including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttarakhand. (Agency)

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