Why Congress Veterans Are Hesitant To Join Lok Sabha Foray? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons

Why Congress Veterans Are Hesitant To Join Lok Sabha Foray? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons

Party Chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath, Former Union Minister Sachin Pilot, Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and some other senior leaders are reportedly reluctant to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Vinay MishraUpdated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 02:29 PM IST
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As the heat of the Lok Sabha elections increases with expectations of poll date announcements anytime soon, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the names of 195 candidates in a single list for the upcoming general election. The BJP's first list includes many prominent names from the party such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and Home Minister Amit Shah.

On the other hand, the Congress party has, to date, released only two lists of candidates. The first list of the grand old party comprised 43 candidates, featuring the name of former party chief Rahul Gandhi for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat and 42 others. Congress announced the second list on Tuesday with the same number of seats. Many prominent names within the party missed out on both lists.

Some names have publicly hinted at their reluctance to participate in the Lok Sabha elections. Questions are being raised within the party about veteran leaders' unwillingness to engage in electoral battles on the ground.

Reports suggest that several veteran leaders of the Congress Party may opt out of the Lok Sabha election contest. Party Chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath, Former Union Minister Sachin Pilot, Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and some other senior leaders are reportedly reluctant to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Here are 5 reasons why veteran Congress leader are avoiding running for Lok Sabha elections:

Old Age/To give chance to new faces

Amid speculation regarding Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's potential absence from the Lok Sabha elections, he has suggested that due to his advanced age, he intends to refrain from contesting the election.

When queried about his decision not to participate in the electoral race, he remarked, "It's incorrect to say that we are withdrawing. I am 83 years old, whereas you (journalists) retire at 65... So, I am 83."

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Kharge stated, "If given an opportunity, everyone approaches and advises our party workers (that I should contest)... If they insist, then I will certainly contest. You see, sometimes we take a step back, while at other times, we lead from the front. We also have a list of ten individuals vying for the same seat."

Health Issues

Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, has expressed his reluctance to contest in the Lok Sabha polls citing health concerns. Rawat has reportedly been facing health issues since sustaining injuries in a road accident in October last year. In November 2023, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited him to inquire about his condition and wish him a speedy recovery. At that time, doctors had confirmed injuries to his rib and waist. Allegedly, Harish Rawat desires for his son to contest in the elections.

To focus on strengthening party

Some prominent leaders have stated that they aim to prioritise boosting the party's overall tally instead of personally contesting in elections. According to reports, former Union Minister Sachin Pilot reassured the party that instead of participating in the elections, he would dedicate his efforts to improving the party's performance in the state. Additionally, he expressed his intention to focus on the four Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan.

To pass on the baton to sons

Some prominent figures like former chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot respectively, have secured party tickets for their sons. Gehlot, who declined the High Command's request to contest for the party chief, is not on good terms with the Gandhi family. Similarly, speculation about Kamal Nath joining the BJP with his son Nakul Nath has strained the relationship with the Gandhi family.

BJP's dominance

It is believed that many of the old guard have opted out of contesting the elections due to the sheer dominance of the BJP. During the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Modi has urged BJP workers to fight the election with full force and strive for an NDA victory by securing over 400 seats. Many Congress leaders fear experiencing defeat against BJP candidates. It is widely believed that the chances of Congress veterans winning the elections are slim. Staying away from the elections will prevent them from facing electoral losses.

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