Congress battles infighting as state polls loom large

Congress battles infighting as state polls loom large
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders KC Venugopal and A.K. Antony during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting. File Photo: IANS
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New Delhi: The Congress is failing to get its act together as infighting at state units and organisational issues continue to plague India's grand old party, posing a challenge over its prospects in the upcoming state polls.

The Congress is literally groping in the dark even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leaving no stone unturned as it gears up to face the state assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand later this year. The BJP had trounced the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year to retain power at the Centre.

The Congress finds itself cornered as several senior leaders at various state units have raised a banner of revolt. One of the main tasks of interim party president Sonia Gandhi would be to broker peace between the state leaders.

Sonia's intervention is expected to resolve the crisis but party leaders admit that it would not be an easy task for her either.

The state of the party

Maharashtra

Opposition leader in Maharashtra Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil left the Congress and joined the BJP. Patil crossed over to the rival camp after his demand to give the NCP's Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat to his son Sujay was turned down.

In another blow to the party, Milind Deora resigned as the president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) soon after Rahul Gandhi vacated the Congress chief post. Senior leader Eknath Gaikwad, who had lost in the Lok Sabha polls, is the current working president. Things are not going well for the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) as well. A section of leaders has come out against Balasaheb Thorat who had taken over as the MPCC chief last month.

Jharkhand

Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) Ajoy Kumar had resigned two weeks ago. While stepping down, he had hit out at his fellow party workers, saying that criminals would have been better. In a three-page letter sent to Rahul Gandhi, he had explained in detail about the factional feuds between the leaders of the state unit. The Congress is yet to find a new PCC president in Jharkhand.

Haryana

Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president (HPCC) Ashok Tanwar have openly declared war. Hooda has already issued a veiled threat that the party has to face the election under his leadership or else he would leave the party. However, Tanwar has said that the Congress would be better off without Hooda, who was engaging in 'anti-party activities'. Tanwar had stayed away from a rally held by Hooda.

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