By: Dipak Kurmi
The compilation of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) list presumably involved more than just Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s solitary effort. Evidently, extensive consultations took place, and decisions were likely made through thoughtful deliberation. The newly formed committee mirrors the diverse spectrum of leadership within the Congress Party, seamlessly blending established figures with emerging ones; P. Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh sharing space with Shashi Tharoor and Sachin Pilot. This aligns with the traditional Congress approach of inclusivity, where an attempt is made to accommodate both loyal party members and those who express dissent. While criticisms had been voiced regarding Kharge’s decision-making speed in relation to the CWC, he opted for a measured approach and curated a comprehensive ensemble.
The Congress Party’s emphasis on leadership from the Nehru-Gandhi family, a stance driven more by strategic considerations than mere sentiment, has once again demonstrated that its internal mechanisms are inherently democratic. Within the reconstituted CWC, each member holds their own comprehensive perspectives. Nevertheless, when it comes to decision-making, a consensus approach will be adopted. Under the guidance of President Kharge, the party’s progress, albeit gradual, is evident. Historically, the Congress Party has never adhered to a rigid plan; its journey is marked by stumbling, fumbling, and occasional setbacks. Yet, the ability to stay united remains a critical factor, and the party appears to be excelling in this aspect. Mr. Kharge has effectively ensured cohesion among the members, thereby preserving the party’s unity.
Can the freshly constituted CWC effectively navigate the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, as well as the looming 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with a dynamic approach? Anticipating machine-like precision from it seems unlikely. Nonetheless, its presence stands to empower Mallikarjun Kharge with the means to mobilize the Grand Old Party. The reservoir of experience within the committee is substantial, and the reconfigured members possess ample intellectual acumen. Attempting to pinpoint the architect behind the team’s formation appears rather futile. Did Kharge collaborate with others in its creation, or did a faction close to Rahul Gandhi curate the roster, subsequently receiving Kharge’s endorsement? The composition of the team suggests a substantial exchange among the parties involved, implying that the decision-making process was mutual. It can be reasonably assumed that Kharge granted formal approval to the list. Kharge will collaborate with this diverse assembly, making decisions after extensive deliberations, in line with the Congress Party’s established modus operandi.
It’s plausible to suggest that Rahul Gandhi may intend to grant Kharge a degree of operational autonomy within his own circle – and within the broader context, there exists both a discernible Rahul Gandhi faction and, if not already formed, a prospective Kharge faction. This emerging group would likely seek to guide proceedings in ways that align with its perception of bolstering Rahul Gandhi’s position. These internal power dynamics constitute the essence of the Congress Party’s modus operandi. Unlike the well-coordinated electoral machinery characterizing the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the Congress cannot replicate such a seamlessly organized approach. While the BJP’s electoral triumphs stem from the diligent exertions of its party members, the Congress’s victories hinge entirely on the sway of voter sentiment.
Hence, what falls within Kharge’s and his CWC’s purview is the everyday task of establishing sub-committees, overseeing teams, and appointing observers across various states to maintain the operational rhythm of the party. It’s the vitality within the party’s operations that holds the potential to ensure the organization remains a focal point in the consciousness of the electorate. In numerous respects, Kharge is effectively orchestrating the continuous functioning of the party machinery, and this very effort is poised to be the differentiating factor.
With his seasoned experience in the party, Kharge comprehends the inner workings that sustain the organization’s vitality. This strategic distribution of roles enables Rahul Gandhi to invest his time and efforts in forging grassroots connections akin to the Bharat Jodo Yatra. This arrangement delineates a distinct division of responsibilities. Moreover, Kharge’s demeanor is marked by approachability and flexibility, attributes that resonate well with the members of “INDIA,” the recently established opposition alliance.
The CWC ensemble must actively participate in crafting a comprehensive Congress strategy to tackle the prevailing political landscape in the nation, while simultaneously exploring avenues to enhance the structural foundations of the economy.
Furthermore, there’s a necessity to invigorate the party’s state-level frameworks. The team should embark on an expansive nationwide outreach. This is precisely the focus of Kharge’s upcoming months.
The reconstitution of the CWC under Kharge’s leadership serves as a tangible indicator of the party’s resolute intent. The recent outcomes in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka highlight the party’s adeptness in navigating Assembly elections. The party has embarked on a phase characterized by collective leadership, both in formal and informal capacities, with Kharge at the helm. His presidency will be a collaborative endeavor, devoid of a singular “Kharge way” of operation. Having risen through the party ranks, Kharge is undoubtedly cognizant that this approach offers the most secure trajectory for steering the party forward.
Moreover, the CWC members will contribute a wealth of programmatic and ideological insights. This echoes the dynamics observed during Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, wherein a purported “Sonia Gandhi clique” coexisted with a broader engagement strategy that encompassed voices beyond the clique. Notable instances of this were her rapport with Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in Andhra Pradesh and later with Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. Even with a Nehru-Gandhi at the helm, the Congress operates as a multi-tiered entity, albeit with some friction in its internal mechanics, the party machinery remains in motion. Historically, the party’s vulnerability has been in relaxing its organizational diligence while in power. However, a decade-long absence from government has revitalized the party apparatus. The fresh composition of the CWC offers a glimpse into this resurgence. Kharge, an unpretentious helmsman, possesses the capacity to unite and lead people effectively.
Speculating about whether Kharge can lead the Congress to victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha election would be purely conjectural. However, he is addressing a crucial requirement by ensuring the party remains well-prepared for the impending major electoral contest. The leaders of the BJP-NDA alliance have discerned that the rejuvenation of the Congress apparatus signifies the necessity to accord greater attention and consideration to the principal opposition party. (The writer can be reached at email@example.com)