The Rajasthan political turmoil may have ended, but the grand old party has learnt a lesson. And, now the party is planning to take stock of each state organisation to avoid the repeat of Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Manipur where it faced rebellion. Here on, it will be addressing all local issues and settling the matters at the state level itself.
To understand the Congress organisational structure: the state in-charge is a bridge between the central leadership and the state organisation and hence has to resolve the issues relating to the state and also give a report to the party president if anything goes wrong.
But considering the problem which emerged in Rajasthan and previously in Madhya Pradesh, the state in-charges appeared to have failed to anticipate the enormity of the problems.
While Deepak Babaria, who was General Secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, was replaced by Mukul Wasnik, an old hand; in Rajasthan, sources say that Sachin Pilot has been unhappy with General Secretary in-charge of the state Avinash Pande over his partisan role.
The post of General Secretary once considered a very powerful post in the Congress has lost its sheen because light-weight and inexperienced people in the organization are being made in charges. So powerful Chief Ministers or leaders take them for granted said the party’s Working Committee member.
B.K. Hariprasad, who was General Secretary from 2006 to 2018, has been in-charge of many states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Goa. In all these states the Congress faced problems and desertions recently.
“The role of a General Secretary in-charge is like an umpire and a facilitator of the organisational setup, and to have coordination between the PCC (state organisation) and CLP (leader of the Legislative party in the Assembly) which is either the Chief Minister or Leader of Opposition,” Hariprasad said.
He insisted that the state in-charges should be neutral and should give a clear picture to the Congress President about the party affairs in the states.
The Congress has faced the problem this week in Manipur, where six MLAs quit the party and the Congress had to face a major embarrassment in the floor of the Assembly where it brought a no-confidence motion.
In Goa, 10 MLAs, including the floor leader in the House crossed and had joined the BJP.
A former General Secretary, who refused to be named, pointed out that earlier in Sonia Gandhi’s first stint as the party chief, “We used to meet once a week with Congress President to apprise her of the situation of the states about the CLP (Congress Legislature Party) and the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) but now I can’t comment about the system these days”.
Besides, Congress is also facing infighting in most of the states.
The party saw desertion in Gujarat too, where due to defections it lost one Rajya Sabha seat. In Karnataka, the Congress lost its coalition government because the party could not stop the exodus of the MLAs after the BJP engineered defection.
But the former state President of Haryana who has left the party Ashok Tanwar alleged, “In my case, all the General Secretaries sided with Bhupinder Singh Hooda and my appeal to the party that Hooda was bulldozing the organization fell on deaf ears. I was not even allowed to appoint the District Presidents, because of ignorance of the in-charges.”
The party is facing an internal rift in Punjab and war of words have continued between the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa. While state in-charge Asha Kumari has dismissed the rift, she warned the dissenters: “Everyone who has grievances against anybody should speak to party leaders and raise the issue in party forums. Speaking to the press is not acceptable.”
Many in the party feel that the Congress should restructure and the state leaders should have some direct channels to register their grievances with the party chief. (IANS)