Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
- Aldous Huxley
If the results of the Lok Sabha elections are any indication, then one thing is clear — the electorates have a dislike or disenchantment with the Gandhi family, which has been controlling the party for decades. So, it is time for the party to come out from the shackles of the Gandhi family and try for a new independent non-Gandhi president. For that, party has to restructure the Congress Working Committee, the executive body of the Congress. With Rahul Gandhi staying away from party affairs, his sister and AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday pitched herself on political centre stage by staging a sit-in in Uttar Pradesh, to protest the killing of 10 tribals over a land dispute. Priyanka’s dramatic protest and subsequent detainment by the UP police energised the Congress, which was thrown in disarray after its humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and the resignation of President Rahul Gandhi. Congress leaders, who are busy searching for a successor to Rahul, rallied behind Priyanka by carrying out demonstrations and marches across several states, blaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the law and order situation in the state.
AICC General Secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal issued missives to the state units of the party to carry out demonstrations to register protests against Priyanka’s detainment and atrocities against people by the BJP government. “You are requested to ensure maximum participation in the dharna/demonstration,” Venugopal said in the letter to state unit presidents, AICC General Secretaries and in-charges of states and frontal organisations. Outgoing Congress president Rahul Gandhi described the detainment of Priyanka as “illegal” and “disturbing”. “This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP,” Rahul said. Since Rahul conveyed to the party leadership that he was firm on stepping down as Congress president, there have been demands from a section of the party that Priyanka be appointed as his successor. Rahul, at the CWC meeting on May 25, had told the party to look beyond the Gandhi family for the leadership of the organisation, thus firmly conveying his opposition to any role for sister Priyanka or mother Sonia.
However, on Thursday, Priyanka had dropped hints that she was in for a long haul in politics by recalling how anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela had told her that she ought to be in politics. “To me, he was Uncle Nelson (who told me I ought to be in politics long before anyone else did!). He will always be my inspiration and my guide,” Priyanka had said on Thursday. Priyanka’s sudden storming on the scene in Uttar Pradesh appeared to have pushed well-entrenched regional outfits SP and BSP to the margins, with the Congress assuming centre-stage.