To Retain Leaders Like Scindia, Congress Needs to Stay in Power

Scindia’s resignation has brought new unrest within the party, which might spur dissent from other leaders.

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When the Maharaj of the royal Scindia family quit Congress, this was the buzz in the political class: whenever someone leaves Congress, the rift further widens in the party.

Well, that's not completely untrue. Over the past six years, ever since the BJP came to power in the Centre, several top Congress leaders have bid farewell to the party. Interestingly, some of them chose a different path but most found shelter under the BJP.

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The 135-year-old Congress party is being crippled once again. Jyotiraditya Scindia's resignation has brought new unrest within its ranks. And in the coming days, the party might see dissent from many other leaders.

Whenever there is discord in the party, easy jumlas like ‘lack of leadership’, ‘state of confusion’, conflict between senior & young leaders and unwise decision-making, do the rounds of the commentariat.

But it’s always Congress that is blamed for this. In reality, the central issue is power. The biggest criticism of the party is that it has become peripheral to national politics. That’s a major reason why internal dissatisfaction is turning into rebellion.

There have been many in line willing to bid the Congress adieu after the BJP's remarkable entry in 2014. At least half a dozen former central ministers, three former chief ministers and several new and old presidents have left.

Former Chief Ministers Who Quit Congress:

  • Vijay Bahuguna, Former Uttarakhand CM – Quit Congress in 2016 and joined BJP
  • Ajit Jogi, Former Chhattisgarh CM: Expelled from Congress in 2016 and floated his own party
  • Giridhar Gamang: Former Odisha CM – Quit Congress in 2015

Former Central Ministers Who Quit Congress:

  • GK Vasan
  • Kishore Chandra Deb
  • Jayanthi Natarajan
  • Sm Krishna
  • Beni Prasad Verma
  • Shrikant Kumar Jena

Former State Presidents Who Quit Congress:

  • Ashok Tanwar
  • Rita Bahuguna
  • Botsa Satyanarayan
  • Bhubaneswar Kalita
  • Yashpal Arya
  • Ashok Chaudhary

Northeast Has a Long List of People Quitting Congress, Joining BJP:

  • Assam's Hemanta Biswa Sharma
  • Arunachal Pradesh's Current Chief Minister Pema Khandu
  • Tripura's Sudip Roy Burman
  • Manipur CM N Biren Singh

In Andhra Pradesh, the entire leadership is in the hands of Jagan Mohan Reddy, BJP and TDP. From Haryana to Goa, the list is long. A similar fiasco befell the Congress in the 90s. In 1996, after the Narasimha Rao government fell from power in the Centre and there was lack of leadership. Sitaram Kesari, someone not from the Gandhi family, became the president, and older Congress leaders expressed their resentment by quitting the party.

After Jyotiraditya Scindia's resignation, it is being said that many young leaders between ages 45-55, now see a bleak future with Congress and so are on the brink of leaving.

Rahul Gandhi doesn't seem too interested in addressing this issue, but all eyes are on interim president Sonia Gandhi to see what she does to plug the holes within the party.

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