Congress in no mood to bow down to rebels' wishes

Congress in no mood to bow down to rebels' wishes

The Congress is battling its biggest-ever crisis since the Lok Sabha poll debacle, as it faces dissent and desertion in four states. However, it is in no mood to bow to the wishes of those raising the banner of revolt.

The past two days have seen resignation by senior ministers Narayan Rane in Maharashtra and Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam. Former MP Chaudhary Lal Singh has quit the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir. The rebellion seems to be emanating from the states in which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had taken personal interest for government formation.

The Congress has shielded Rahul from any attack, with former Union ministers Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari rejecting suggestions that the rebellion was against his leadership. “It is not a rebellion against Rahul. The issue is that some people are not happy with the chief minister (Tarun Gogoi). But majority are with the chief minister,” said Nath referring to the resignation of Sarma from the Assam Cabinet.

Rane, a bitter critic of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, quit as minister saying he did not want to be a partner in defeat in the Assembly elections, expected to be held in the state in October.

Both Sarma and Rane nurse chief ministerial ambitions, and had reportedly resigned from the Cabinet as they saw no chance of fulfillment. Privately, Congress leaders admit that the challenge in Assam is more serious than in Maharashtra as Sarma had paraded a group of MLAs backing him.

Congress leaders appeared prepared for the worst-case scenario of Sarma pulling down the Gogoi-led government.

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