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Old guard versus young leaders in Congress surfaces again

By Rakesh Ranjan- 14 Jul 2020


It is old guards versus young leaders yet again to the fore in Congress with Deputy chief minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot sulking and Congress leader trying to defuse the crisis in the state. All young leaders of the Congress are either sidelined or looking for some other refuse. 

There is a long list of these leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Jitin Prasada, Sandeep Dikshit, Sushmita Deo, Gaurav Gogoi, Priyanka Chaturvedi and a few more young leaders.

Scindia has joined the BJP, Pilot at war with Gehlot, Deora stepped down as Mumbai Congress chief and Priyanka Chaturvedi resigns and joins Shiv Sena. It was Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh, Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, and Delhi is almost leaderless for the Congress. Sushmita Deo and Gaurav Gogoi are in oblivion despite belonging to the family of old guard Congressmen.

Another leader in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sharma had quit the Congress over his differences with Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi. Even the Congress leaders accept that there have been several instances of veterans not treating young leaders well. In the run-up to the 2014 election, a powerful general secretary —considered close to Rahul Gandhi — earned a reputation of not behaving well with young leaders. Ashok Tanwar in Haryana was also thrown out of the Congress despite being close to Rahul Gandhi.

Mamata Banerjee left the Congress in 1998 due to a tussle with party old guard, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy left the Congress and formed his own party after being sidelined in the Andhra Pradesh Congress following his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in a helicopter crash in 2009. So there is a past history of disenchantments as well. 

Many party leaders believe that uncertainty in the central leadership, especially in the aftermath of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls has led to factional feuds in the Congress. With Rahul Gandhi resigning as party chief after the Lok Sabha poll debacle, regional leaders tried to enlarge their own political space at the expense of young rivals, maintained two Delhi-based party functionaries, requesting anonymity.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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