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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Gujarat Polls: Congress, BJP In Dilemma

Coming on the heels of the Udaipur Chintan Shivir, Hardik Patel’s exit from the Congress is a matter of actual ‘chintan’ for the grand old party. Reports that Acharya Promod Krishnam had also quit the party were another setback. Earlier, on the first day of the chintan shivir, Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar also decided to bid goodbye to the party

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Coming on the heels of the Udaipur Chintan Shivir, Hardik Patel’s exit from the Congress is a matter of actual ‘chintan’ for the grand old party. Reports that Acharya Promod Krishnam had also quit the party were another setback. Earlier, on the first day of the chintan shivir, Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar also decided to bid goodbye to the party. These Congress leaders left following the footsteps of among others Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, and RPN Singh. Under the circumstances, the party should be grateful to those who chose to remain despite the party’s ruined prospects. But chances are that more exits can be expected in the days to come. This, even though the ‘high command’ doesn’t seem to care who left, and who joined. Not that there is a clamour to join. The Udaipur Chintan Shivir promised to promote talent under age 50, and Hardik Patel is only 28. Scindia, Prasada, RPN, and Sushmita Dev were all under 50 when they ditched Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

One thing common for these young leaders was that they had little or nil prospects if they stayed on in the Congress. Their career growths were more or less on standstill, and the party high command was unavailable to them to take their several grievances to. Also, the little said about Congress leaders close to Sonia and Rahul, the better. Randeep Singh Surjewala and KC Venugopal, to name a couple, their role is to keep the high command and the rest of the Congress party apart, and separate. If, and when the Congress history of these times is written, these powerful satraps wouldn’t fare well in the writing when read between the lines. That said, did Hardik Patel leave under pressure from the BJP/Modi government? True, the grapevine says that as many as 32 cases are lodged against Hardik. The Congress believes Hardik had no option but to ditch the Congress. Many believe that Patel was being blackmailed and coerced, but what was he waiting for, for so long? This counterargument, tendered by apologists of Hardik, relies solely on Hardik Patel’s political ambitions to explain his exit. There is also yet another argument that Patel was disillusioned with the “lazy work culture” of the Congress leadership.

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Top Congress leaders were most of the time too busy feeding gossip and ‘chicken sandwich’ to the Congress ‘highest command’. And, don’t forget, the neta—irrespective of party—wants to be on a career growth escalator, just like anybody in the executive, and the private sector. That being said, Hardik Patel is a curious case. His grouse was that his designation ‘working president’ didn’t work for him. Mostly because he was largely ignored by Rahul Gandhi. Of course, the party thought he was in too much of a hurry to climb the ladder. Hardik wanted a Rajya Sabha seat, but the party thought he hadn’t spent enough time in the Congress to deserve a Rajya Sabha ticket. Besides, unlike Jignesh Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar, who were valued for their ideological steadfastness, Hardik Patel was trusted like a fox. For the Congress, Hardik thought more like the rightwing. There was always the smell of the BJP on, and around him. His letter to the Congress president is a total giveaway to the hidden right-winger in him. The Gujarat assembly elections are around the corner. For the BJP, with the Congress snapping at its heels and the AAP dogging it every step of the way, it is a make-or-break election.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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