Key Rahul Gandhi appointee Ruchi Gupta quits Congress, blames KC Venugopal for delays

Congress has been battling mass defections and internal dissension, with 23 senior leaders asking for a massive organizational overhaul. Repeated losses in the recent elections, from Bihar assembly to local body polls, have left the party scrambling.
Ruchi Gupta
Ruchi Gupta

Congress party’s headache continues to grow as joint secretary in-charge of the students’ wing, National Students’ Union of India, Ruchi Gupta quit the Congress party on Saturday due to “delays in organizational changes”.

Gupta, who is the latest in a long line of leaders to have left the Congress, confirmed to Hindustan Times that she has resigned from her post and quit the national party. Congress has been battling mass defections and internal dissension, with 23 senior leaders asking for a massive organizational overhaul. Repeated losses in the recent elections, from Bihar assembly to local body polls, have left the party scrambling.

Interim president Sonia Gandhi is meeting party leaders on Saturday to discuss organizational changes, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Friday.

Gupta has laid the blame at the door of general secretary (organization) KC Venugopal, who is known to be a close confidante of former party chief Rahul Gandhi. In her message, Gupta states that Venugopal is responsible for continuous delays in organizational changes and the matter cannot always be escalated to the level of the party president.

“Dear all, I am writing to you to announce that I have resigned. As you know, important organisational changes have remained pending for very long: the national committee took 1 year 3 months; state president orders have remained pending for months. Many other state units are waiting for reorganisation to make space for new activists. These continuing delays by the GS(O) are damaging the organisation but in the present circumstances, it is not possible to escalate repeatedly to Congress President. The situation has thus become untenable,” she wrote in her resignation message.

“Thank you all for your hard work, especially in these difficult times of the pandemic. I want to make sure that your hard work is not lost in the transition and will be sending a write-up on each of you to Rahul ji. My best wishes for all your future endeavours,” Gupta added.

HT reached out to Venugopal for a response via text message but did not receive a reply immediately.

In her article in Hindu on Saturday, Gupta said that the party needs to address issues of party organization, address grassroots level connect and establish a strong top-down leadership.

“None of the above can be done without a strong and interventionist Congress President. Political parties — the Congress in particular — are defined as much by internal conflicts as external. Politics is dynamic with constantly opening and closing pathways to power. Without a strong leader at the top to take and enforce decisions, the Party will continue to be pulled in different directions,” Gupta wrote. “Moreover, only the active facilitation of the Congress President can create space for substantive deliberation required right now — both as a political process to draw everyone together and to form a political platform expansive enough to accommodate the Congress’s historical big tent positioning.”

She added that the “this leadership can only be provided by Rahul Gandhi”. “This is not a sycophantic statement — if any other leader had to emerge in the party, he would have done so over the last year. Instead, different factions prefer status quo rather than allowing one group to ascend and upset the balance of power for everyone. Organisational power thus continues to reside in Mr Gandhi. The way then to revive the Congress and consolidate this power is one and the same — it’s full and frontal exercise,” Gupta adds.

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