With Hooda undecided, Congress on shaky ground

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 03, 2019 Published on September 03, 2019

The Ex-Haryana CM will decide whether to continue in Cong or float a new outfit

Congress’ internal dynamics remained in flux on Tuesday as the party’s Haryana strongman Bhupinder Singh Hooda met his loyalists to take a call on future course of action even as interim President Sonia Gandhi held parleys with office bearers from election-bound States.

Hooda is expected to decide on whether he will continue in the Congress or float a new political outfit ahead of the Assembly elections in Haryana. While the terms of Haryana and Maharashtra Assemblies end in November, 2019, elections to Jharkhand, Bihar and Delhi will take place in 2020. The Congress’ position in Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi is much weakened and Hooda’s muscle-flexing and impending exit spells doom for the party in Haryana.

A handful of sitting Congress MLAs are reportedly ready to split in case Hooda decides to form a separate regional outfit.

Meanwhile, it is unlikely that the Congress will hold any larger meeting of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) or the CWC before the upcoming Assembly elections. Till then, Sonia Gandhi would continue to preside over the weakening organisation.

Her meeting with regional leaders on Tuesday, according to a senior leader, was to assess the ground situation in the poll-bound States.

“That used to be her way of handling an election. She will hold meetings with senior leaders of the party in respective States much ahead of the polls,” the leader said.

No change in guard

There are also indications that she is unlikely to change the general secretaries and State in-charges appointed by Rahul Gandhi.

“Usually, the general secretaries, State in-charges and department in-charges get changed as the new president takes over. But what we hear is that she has no plans to change the present set of leaders,” another leader said.

Rahul Gandhi had brought in several changes when he took over the mantle from his mother.

Sonia Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant Janardan Dwivedi was removed as AICC general secretary in charge of organisation and youngsters were inducted in key departments.

The Congress suffered huge setbacks in in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The party lost Haryana and Maharashtra to the NDA. In Delhi, the AAP won polls in 2015.

The BJP managed to split the Grand Alliance — the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and the Janata Dal (United), which won the elections in 2015.

A host of senior leaders in the party are happy that Sonia Gandhi is back at the helm. “The confusion is over. We know her working style. It will be good for the party now,” a CWC member said.

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Published on September 03, 2019
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