Congress debacle incurs allies' wrath

Congress debacle incurs allies' wrath

A day after the Congress suffered severe electoral setbacks in Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, its leadership on Monday faced more embarrassments from within the party and from allies and friends.

The biggest embarrassment was inflicted during the day by some of the party MPs from the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh. Realising that the leadership was in a highly vulnerable position after the poll drubbing, six MPs from Seemandhra went to the extent of submitting a notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, expressing no-confidence in the party-led government at the Centre.

Though the notice of no-confidence does not have the requisite support for the Speaker to take note of it, this is perhaps for the first time that members of the ruling party have expressed no-confidence in their own government.

Two of these MPs–Vundavalli Aruna Kumar and Lagadapati Rajagopal–said they would vote against any legislative proposal in Parliament to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

Seemandhra Congress leaders have been angry and in a mood to revolt against the party leadership over its move to create a separate state of Telangana. They appeared to be using the leadership’s vulnerability now to put pressure on the government. On the poll debacle front, too, the leadership confronted criticism.

After her disastrous re-election campaign, outgoing Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit criticised the party organisation for the  worst-ever defeat in the national capital.

Dikshit said Delhi unit of the Congress under J P Agarwal did not show any enthusiasm to communicate to the electorate the achievements of her government during the past 15 years.

Adding to the Congress’ woes, Nationalist Congress Party president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar virtually questioned the Congress leadership saying the electorate does not want weak leaders.

The Congress was decimated in the four states due to “weak leadership” and its over-reliance on pseudo-activists (jholawallahs) in decision making, Pawar said.

Cong, from Page 1
“People need strong, decisive and result-oriented leaders. They do not want weak rulers, but they want those who will formulate policies & programs for poor and implement them with firmness,” Pawar said in a rare blog post.

Obliquely, Pawar also appeared to express his strong disapproval of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s reliance on NGOs and social activists in policy making. He was not happy with the Congress’ pet food security initiative
“Of late, weak leadership at various level has given rise to a bunch of pseudo-activists who have no connect with ground reality. They come up with unrealistic ideas and impression gets created that they are representing people's feelings which is not true,” the NCP leader added.

Criticism also came from another ally, the National Conference headed by Farooq Abdullah. Abdullah attributed the poll verdict to corruption in the government.

“There were several issues like price rise. Onion prices had touched Rs 100 per kg.

Corruption was also an issue which affected the voting,” Abdullah said, though he promised that his party will not desert the United Progressive Alliance ship. 

With the criticism mounting and facing the challenge of preparing the party for the Lok Sabha elections in under six months, party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi summoned during the day a meeting of the general secretaries who were in-charge of poll affairs in the four states–B K Hariprasad, Gurudas Kamat, Mohan Prakash and Shakeel Ahmed.

There were speculations that these general secretaries had offered to resign. But there was no immediate confirmation.

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