New Delhi: For the beleaguered Congress, things are getting worse in some ways. While Congress’ interim’ president Sonia Gandhi has stalled any actions against her son and daughter Rahul-Priyanka Vadra duo for the poll debacle, other key leaders are being dropped from party posts and being ‘punished’.
Sunil Jakhar, a senior Punjab leader and K V Thomas have been dropped from all party posts on the recommendation of the party’s disciplinary panel headed by veteran A K Antony.
Reacting to this, a visibly upset Jakhar “wished the party good luck”.
He said, “The way in which the party leadership has handled my case has belittled me and shown me in poor light. Such an attitude is not acceptable to me.”
He clarified, “I have already wished the party good luck. Moreover, I do not hold any position in the party.”
Jakhar was former Punjab Congress chief, and Thomas, a Christian leader from Kerala, served as Union food minister in the Manmohan Singh government and was also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
“In view of the seniority of Sunil Jakhar and KV Thomas, it has been decided that the two will be removed from party positions and will not hold any at least in the near future,” said Tariq Anwar, a member of the
Congress disciplinary committee.
“Harsh action has not been taken against them,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi also approved a three-year suspension for five Meghalaya MLAs for ‘helping the BJP’ in the state.
Some of it is factually not correct. The Congress MLAs in Meghalaya announced recently their decision to back NPP leader Conrad Sangma-led ministry in the northeastern state. The BJP, too, is a partner in the government, but it is not ‘helping’ the BJP per se. Congress had won 21 MLAs in 2018 polls but now has none. While five of them, led by M. Ampareen Lyngdoh, decided to back the Sangma government only earlier this year, a larger group led by former CM Mukul Sangma deserted Congress and joined Trinamool Congress.
Reports from Punjab suggest Jakhar is keeping the Congress guessing on his plans. The former Punjab Congress chief was ‘very upset’ on being served a show-cause notice, and he had not replied to the notice. Instead of calling him to Delhi to sort things out, certain leaders preferred to undermine him, a Punjab Congress leader said.
Jakhar had not approved making Charanjit Singh Channi Punjab Chief Minister on the eve of polls. The differences understandably led to the alienation of the Hindu electorate from Congress, resulting in the party’s defeat.
K. V. Thomas was served a show-cause notice for attending a CPI-M conference in Kerala despite Sonia Gandhi asking the state leaders not to do so.
Congress has problems in other states too. Hardik Patel has voiced displeasure at the party’s functioning in Gujarat, while two other leaders lately left the Congress party.