Congress and the Government Playing Chess Their Own Way

Nobody in the Congress is worried about the future of Rahul Gandhi. Even if they are worried, it is all linked to their own future. A few of the leaders in the Congress who play the role of strategists take Rahul Gandhi just as a mere pawn in their hands instead of taking him as a candidate for the post of the Prime Minister. Under the ‘shelter’ of Rahul Gandhi, these leaders want to apply their own rules in the Congress party. So their worry is not about the problem of how to save the goodwill of the party before the 2014 general elections, but how to keep Rahul Gandhi under their own custody, so that the Government and the party can remain in their hands as pawns. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi is not ready to take any risks after facing failure in all the areas. He does not even want to listen to his mother Sonia Gandhi on the issue of strategies. Rahul Gandhi has made it very clear to Sonia Gandhi that he does not need the expertise and advise of Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel any more.
In spite of this, to ‘retain’ their right on Rahul Gandhi, a war is on between Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ahmed Patel, and the so called Guru of Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh. Both of them are busy playing the game of check mate as it is the question of their identity in the party. For the time being, the strength of Digvijay Singh has decreased substantially in the party and Ahmed Patel is also running the possibility of going to the marginalised end.
After getting a thrashing in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative elections, when Rahul Gandhi was standing in front of the media and was accepting his defeat, at that point of time there was a sense of happiness inside the houses of many senior strategists and leaders. These were those people who did not succeed in the Uttar Pradesh elections or their words were not accepted at all by Rahul Gandhi. The leaders who were celebrating even after the Congress suffered a strong defeat was because of the fact that at least, from the clutches of Digvijay Singh the power of giving advice to Rahul Gandhi would come under their control.
And this is what actually happened. Digvijay Singh was made to go to the sidelines while the entry of Ahmed Patel in the domain of Rahul Gandhi increased substantially. Now with the passage of time, the magic of Ahmed Patel has also come down in the domain of Rahul Gandhi.
According to sources, Rahul Gandhi, who had always rejected the Prime Ministership is now ready to play the role of the Prime Minister of India. But he does not need the support of Ahmed Patel and Digvijay Singh.
Yes, Rahul Gandhi is indeed in pursuit of such a person who, like Pranab Mukherjee, could play the role of a trouble shooter whenever the party gets into trouble. And for the time being, according to sources, the name of Janardan Dwivedi is on the top of the list. It was on the recommendation of Janardan Dwivedi that Nirmal Khatri was appointed by removing Rita Bahuguna Joshi in Uttar Pradesh and no advice was taken from Digvijay Singh on this issue. Even during the appointments for the charge of eight zones in Uttar Pradesh, Digvijay Singh was kept on the sidelines by Rahul Gandhi. The charge of Assam and Uttar Pradesh was also taken away from Digvijay Singh. The Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, after meeting with the High Command had made a complaint against Digvijay Singh. Tarun Gogoi had said that the activities of Digvijay Singh in the region were not in the interests of the party, and he is giving a boost to ethnicity. With the complaints coming against Digvijay Singh and looking at his weak position, Ahmed Patel tried to take advantage and bring Rahul Gandhi under his control and he was successful to a certain extent. For some time, Ahmed Patel also stayed as an unofficial advisor to Rahul Gandhi. But Rahul Gandhi did not get the desired satisfaction from the advice of Ahmed Patel either. Especially after the name of Ahmed Patel came in the Coalgate Scam, the Prime Minister is also very unhappy with Ahmed Patel. The Prime Minister also met Sonia Gandhi personally and told her that the decision of allocating the coal blocks that was done by the then secretary T. K. A. Nair on the behest of Ahmed Patel. However Ahmed Patel has refuted that he had any link in this matter. But insiders at 10 Janpath say that Sonia Gandhi took the complaint of the Prime Minister very seriously, and also gave an assurance of a quick investigation into this matter. Sonia Gandhi called Ahmed Patel and said that she was unhappy with him due to his interference in the coal block allocations.
As the centre of power in the Congress is going to slide away from Sonia Gandhi towards Rahul Gandhi, so the likes and dislikes of Rahul Gandhi have become much more important than that of Sonia Gandhi. This is the reason that after the Coalgate affair, when Sonia Gandhi had called for a meeting with strategists of the party to make the decision on strategies, then Makhan Lal Fotedar, R. K. Dhawan, Suman Dubey were present along with Rahul Gandhi, but Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel were not seen in the meeting. The absence of these two political leaders and the increasing distance of the two from the High Command has been taken advantage of by leaders like Rajeev Shukla and Suresh Pachouri and they are making circles around Rahul Gandhi. But Rahul does not even want to consider the names of these two leaders for the time being. Rajeev Shukla still comes in the junior category of leaders and nobody takes him seriously. And there are many opponents of Suresh Pachouri. However, Rahul Gandhi met with the President, Pranab Mukherjee and took advice from him. Pranab Mukherjee suggested the names of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sushil Kumar Shinde. But according to information that is coming through, both these names are also not considered to be in tune with the theories of Rahul Gandhi. However, Ghulam Nabi Azad is considered as a very trustworthy person of Sonia Gandhi and he also has right to take major decisions related to the party.
Rahul Gandhi is trying to make a new and strong team in accordance with the role and responsibilities that he would be playing in the coming time. He is in search of those people who are well versed with realities at the ground level and who are familiar with the concerns of the common people. Rahul Gandhi is not really ready to work with the old shrewd sort of people of the Congress party. This might be the reason that Rahul Gandhi has made a new team for himself and the members are ‘stipendary’. They get their salary, travelling allowance, daily allowance, mobile charges and all other allowances. This team is constituted of both political and non political people. Rahul is desperate to work with his team in his new role. People close to Rahul Gandhi say that he does not speak lightly after facing failures from all the areas.
Actually Rahul Gandhi has understood the reality of his position after the Uttar Pradesh election. Rahul is in need of good associates and workers, also because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also prepared his own core team, which will also work on the damage control for the Government. This team of Manmohan Singh has in fact started to implement its strategies with good effect. A rift between the party and the Government has been there for some time now and this is not hidden from anybody. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi also fear that Manmohan Singh with the help of his team might not only take over power in the Government but he might also take control of the party in total. This team of Manmohan Singh constitutes of T. K. A. Nair, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, P. Chidambaram, Pulok Chatterjee, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Pawan Bansasl and Narayanswami. The funny part is that Kapil Sibal, who was close to Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram has not been included in the core team. Not only has he been ejected from the team but he is also not permitted to participate in the activities of this core team. The Prime Minister has indeed kept Sushil Kumar in his team as he is the Home Minister, but as he is very close to Sonia Gandhi, so he has been kept away from the major responsibilities of the team. This team of Manmohan Singh starts its work in the darkness of the night. After 10 P.M. in the night, the members of this team are found knocking at the doors of the main leaders of the party. However, Congress chief secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who has become a person of trust for Rahul Gandhi is also counted in the list of close associates of Manmohan Singh. But as he is not giving importance to the proposal of Manmohan Singh of becoming a Central Minister, so Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have made up their minds to reward him with the major responsibilities and rights related to the party.
An atmosphere of indignation has spread across the country against the Congress party as a result of the number of big scandals revolving around it. Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have understood that if overhauls are not done from the top to the lower level in the Congress party then the honour of the Gandhi family will slide down the roads. On the other hand, because of the rift that is prevalent inside the party and the Government, the party has not been able to make the changes that it wants to make in the stipulated time before the 2014 elections. So Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi along with their close associates are busy in the process of making changes in the Central Cabinet ministers. But there is a twist here as well. The Prime Minister who runs on the signals of P. Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia also has his requests for his favourite and trustworthy people.
The true reality is that Rahul Gandhi is stuck in such a position, where to go by a Hindi phrase, there is fire ahead and a chasm behind (‘Aage Kuwa Aur Piche Khai’). The senior leaders of the Congress party who have been working for decades and whose experience can work to the benefit of the party and the nation are busy crushing the party. The new team does not have the experience of politics, and the situation of the old leaders is such that they are not ready to leave Rahul Gandhi. A lot of clever strategies are also being tried for this. The selfishness and cruelty of power and politics can be understood with this : when Digvijay Singh had to come to Delhi leaving behind Madhya Pradesh, Captain Satish Sharma had been very close to Rahul Gandhi at that point of time. Digvijay Singh, with the help of Vincent George, made his place at 10 Janpath and took advantage of the absence of senior Congress leader Arjun Singh and won the trust of Rahul Gandhi. But as soon as the Uttar Pradesh elections gave a clear picture of the Congress party, Ahmed Patel took the place of Digvijay Singh. Now it is the turn of Janardan Dwivedi. However, Manmohan Singh’s unstinted efforts will be to bring Dwivedi towards him by vesting him with a lucrative post and power, so that Rahul Gandhi is not left with any experienced and rational advisor. In 2009, the Congress had not made a compromise with the Samajwadi Party on the advice of Arjun Singh and the result was that the Congress had won 24 seats. The stature of Arjun Singh had suddenly reached a new high. But Manmohan Singh took the words of Kapil Sibal and filled the ears of Sonia Gandhi so vigorously that not only was Arjun Singh shown the way outside the cabinet but as Arjun Singh had rejected the post of Governor, he was thrown out of the Working Committee of the Congress as well. It is said that this shock took Arjun Singh’s life.
Kapil Sibal was against Arjun Singh because at one point of time Kapil Sibal did not rest in making allegations against Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors case and at that point of time Arjun Singh had become Rajiv Gandhi’s shield and scolded Kapil Sibal. Anyway, Arjun Singh is not alive anymore and the situation of Kapil Sibal has also gone into the dumps. Kapil Sibal is on the side lines in the cabinet of Manmohan Singh.


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