Sonia Gandhi is back. Again. What the so-called G23 rebels have been able to do to get started is to ensure that the ‘interim’ Congress leader comes out of his self-imposed hibernation and takes full responsibility again.
Sonia Gandhi wants to send a clear message that there are several indications to show that she is in control of the party. For example, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power, and even until recently, it was not Rahul Gandhi but Sonia Gandhi who is now taking matters inside Parliament. He spoke twice in a few days. First, allegations of BJP’s misuse of Facebook and other social media for political and electoral gain. Then, he talked about the need for proper nutrition for schoolgirls.
However, it has also had an impact on a number of recent decisions and meetings. In the five states where the party has lost the elections, the heads of the Provincial Congress Committees (PCCs) of the five states have been asked to resign, and not just Navjot Singh Sidhu in Punjab, as many have thought. This is true of Sonia’s style because she, like her children, is not determined by her decision, but wants to send a message that she is good at maintaining fine balance. Also, without saying a word, he told party MP Shashi Tharoor that he could not attend a seminar at the invitation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This is especially important because his son Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Kerala and the Left is the main opposition there.
Also, Sonia Gandhi is meeting with members of the so-called 23 dissident groups or members of the G23 batch, listening to them and trying to find ways to ensure that the party does not split.
When most of the G23 members speak in private, they say that it is difficult for them to talk to Rahul Gandhi and it is easy for them to take the lead of Sonia Gandhi. There are past examples of Congress party not doing well in elections and Sonia has taken responsibility. At this point he understands more than his children that the situation is such that the main part of the party may split and lead to emigration. And if he ultimately wants to hand over the reins of the party to his children, then a fragmented, divided Congress would not be the ideal product. Before taking that step, he has to handle the situation in the interest of his children if not the team.
But beyond that, the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are near. And with the emergence of possible alternatives like the Aam Aadmi Party, the challenge for the Congress is growing. While Sonia Gandhi will still be more acceptable to opposition leaders, many on her side are becoming rivals like KCR and even Mamata Banerjee.
After a long period of reluctance after the assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, she candidly explained that Sonia Gandhi had entered politics. Several such incidents have taken place. Some moments for Sonia Gandhi where she briefly resigned but withdrew again in the interest of her children. But this time the Congress is facing a similar crisis if Sitaram Keshari was the party chief. There was a strong party to support Sonia Gandhi. This time around, he has very few strong Congress leaders on his side and has defected several times. Many leaders are dissatisfied and do not know who to align with.
The biggest problem for the Congress and Sonia Gandhi is that this time the rivalry between her and her parties is from within. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Bhadra have their own group, their own group of lawyers, who often do not work together with Sonia and her followers. In fact, the position of the Congress is probably best explained by the fact that three different Gandhis are dragging in three different directions.
The work has been cut for Sonia Gandhi. First, he must ensure that the G23 members remain a part of Congress, and so, he must find a suitable position for them to calm them down. Second, more state elections are coming up later this year, and he needs to make sure that there is no resentment against Gandhi. For this, Sonia Gandhi alone can probably reach out to the G23 and the rest of the Congress loyalists. Third, with important elections like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh looming, Sonia Gandhi will be ready to take the blame if the party does not do well instead of giving it to her children.
Sources say that while Rahul is reluctant to officially take charge of the party, Gandhians, especially Sonia, do not want the family to lose its grip on the party which is in its lowest position. Sonia alone can ensure Gandhi’s continuity for the time being.
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