The Congress party, which is facing a crisis in Rajasthan following the ouster of ambitious deputy CM Sachin Pilot, will have to work very hard to keep a lid on dissent in other states such as Uttar Pradesh.
Former Union Minister and leader from UP Jitin Prasada, who tweeted in support of Pilot on Tuesday, and legislator Aditi Singh and many other leaders have been sulking since long.
“Sachin Pilot is not just a colleague but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this…” Prasada tweeted.
Prasada’s father in law Sanjay Seth is a BJP’s Rajya Sabha member and it is often speculated that Prasada will eventually join the BJP.
UP leaders fear that many young leaders may quit the Congress if the party fails to retain Pilot. They blame ham-handed management of rift, policy of drift and a trust deficit in the party for the present turmoil. Many also feel that the party has become a personal fiefdom of the Gandhis.
“If the tripod of Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi continues to call shots based on the input of some of the old guard, the second rung of leadership may be wiped out completely; we won’t be surprised if leaders like Prasada and Aditi also go the Pilot way,” a senior UP leader said, on condition of anonymity.
Party leaders said young leaders in the party were primarily unhappy due to the communication gap and the pussyfooting. “Instead of addressing the issues, the party had been punishing them for indiscipline,” the members have alleged.
Aditi Singh, MLA from Raebareli, told a news channel, “My grievances were never addressed, now I have stopped complaining.” She recalled that the party had served her a notice the day after her marriage for violation of party whip.
Another senior leader alleged, “The mess is largely an undoing of the Congress party. No doubt, he toiled hard in Rajasthan to wrest power from the BJP, but he should not have been given two posts -- that of the deputy CM and the state party chief. That stoked his ambition and the dissent has been brewing since then. Yet, the party failed to take proactive steps to sort it out.”
A similar scene is playing itself out in Uttar Pradesh, where many leaders, including Gandhi family loyalists in Raebareli, had switched over to the BJP.
“The tussle between the top leadership and the second rung has been on for long. During the Manmohan Singh government, top leaders had to sort out the differences between senior and junior ministers by clearly defining their roles in the ministries,” a senior party leader said.