Young Congress leaders say veterans should stand aside to save the party, as RaGa gets the blame for poll losses

The senior-junior divide in the Congress is playing itself out once again. 

Several younger leaders considered close to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi have been holding informal talks about the continuing state of inertia gripping the Grand Old Party.

These younger leaders, who were made AICC secretaries by Rahul in 2014, are miffed that the party V-P is being unnecessarily targeted for the poll losses and that the seniors are still issuing sermons rather than sacrificing their positions to ensure a revamp of the 131-year-old party. 

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi have promised to re-assess the party's strategies in the wake of poor state election results

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi have promised to re-assess the party's strategies in the wake of poor state election results

This group of younger leaders had also come out in Rahul’s support in 2014, when the Congress vice-president was attacked by both his friends and foes over the party’s worst-ever Lok Sabha performance.

The Congress tally in the Lower House of Parliament had nosedived from 206 in 2009 to a mere 44 in 2014. 

After their 2014 experience, when they came out in the open to vent their feelings but were silenced by their seniors, these younger leaders are now discussing the issues plaguing the party in a more discreet fashion. Chats are usually impromptu and take place over tea in the secretary’s room, at some coffee shop, or over lunch at a colleague’s residence. 

The young leaders have grown impatient as they feel that the party's leadership is not able to take any strong action as the veterans are not comfortable with change, which is being pushed by Rahul. 

Acknowledging that the status quo is hurting the party, younger leaders have been expressing concern over the lack of internal communication.

Following claims of a wide communication gap between the party and voters, which shrunk the Congress voteshare, Rahul had asked central and state leaders to hold review meetings every three months and send him reports. 

These meetings, which were intended to allow a free exchange of views within the party, were to include a range of contributors from the general secretaries in charge of states, down to the block-level workers. Sadly, the meetings are yet to happen.

These youngsters also want that state in-charges should own up to the poll results and hear what the workers on the ground have to say about the recent defeats. 

“Instead of issuing sermons, the seniors should sacrifice,” said a secretary.

Echoing similar sentiments, former Union minister Kishor Chandra Deo said a group of influential leaders have enjoyed power within the party for a long time, and needed to be sent on a holiday. 

“The same people get important positions in the organisation at the Centre or in states. The Congress president should identify them and remove them,” Deo told Mail Today. 

Deo said the Congress faces a historic challenge from divisive forces, and must clean up its house. 

Like the younger leaders, Deo also said the rank and file across the country are concerned over the decay that has set in within the Congress, which needs to be weeded out at the earliest.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now