After Gandhis’ Shimla sojourn, reshuffle on cards in Congress


After the Shimla confabulations of the Gandhis where Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are on vacation, it is expected that the Congress will push for an AICC reshuffle and put its house in order in the states. This follows the Punjab operation in which Rahul Gandhi pushed for change and Charantjit Singh Channi was appointed as Chief Minister after the exit of Amarinder Singh.

This has raised hopes in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where two chief minister aspirants — TS Singh Deo and Sachin Pilot — are waiting for their turn. Ahead of the Shimla vacation, Rahul Gandhi had met Sachin Pilot in Delhi for a long discussion. Although no details have come out about the meeting, alarm bells have start ringing in Rajasthan with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot likely to travel to Delhi to meet the central leadership. There is a strong sense in the Congress that Pilot will return as the Pradesh Congress Committee chief and move forward with the new assignment ahead of state elections.

Similarly in Chhattisgarh there has been no final decision on the demand for a rotational chief ministership. Rahul Gandhi was supposed to go there on the chief minister’s invitation but that he chose otherwise shows that all is not well. The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister may have time till the elections in five states as his team is working in Uttar Pradesh.

In the election going states of UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab, the Congress sees a chance of returning to power in four states except UP where it is not the main challenger. The party also has a tough task to overcome the Aam Aadmi Party which is cutting into its votes in Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand.

The Congress is likely to see a reshuffle in the AICC with the appointment of a Gujarat in-charge in the party, a post which is vacant due to the demise of Rajeev Satav. The party will also try to balance regional and caste equations in the AICC with more representation from the northern states.

However there is strong resentment against Rahul Gandhi’s close aides in the party and there is consultation to appoint a senior leader to quell the resentment.

The party has to decide on the organizational elections which was also the demand of the G-23 group in the party. After the Shimla sojourn it has to be seen if Rahul Gandhi is ready to take the post or the Congress will go for a working president.

Senior party leader Shashi Tharoor had said on Saturday there should be a new leadership in the Congress party. “No one has spoken a word against Sonia Gandhi, but she herself is saying she wishes to step down and hence a new leadership should take over quickly.”

“If Rahul Gandhi wishes to take over, it should happen quickly,” said Tharoor to the media as he arrived near Ernakulam on a day that saw the party’s Punjab unit implode.

He said if the Congress has to come back, things should fall in place quickly and it should get ready to face the elections.

Till now various frontal organisation of the Congress party have been demanding that Rahul Gandhi should take over as the new president.