New Delhi, Oct 28 : After the Congress’ debacle in the last Lok Sabha elections, then party President Rahul Gandhi had slammed some senior leaders, saying they had not paid enough attention to the party but focused more on their children’s poll prospects.
His statement came at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, when it met to analyse the poll performance.
Even his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the “murderers of the party” are sitting in the room where the meeting was underway.
The comments were clearly a reflection of unease that the young brigade in the Congress has for the veterans in the party.
Some young party leaders point out that while Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress President, taking moral responsibility for the party’s dismal poll performance, none of the old guard even made such an offer.
Reflecting the angst among the young leaders, former Haryana Congress President Ashok Tanwar said: “These old leaders want to promote their sons and daughters at the cost of workers who rose from scratch.”
While quitting the party earlier this month, Tanwar had also said that Rahul Gandhi is a victim of this gang.
The young-vs-old tussle prevails in various states, including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
A young leader alleged that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wants to promote his son Vaibhav, who is now President of Rajasthan Cricket Association.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath is an MP from Chindwara.
Haryana leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda wants to promote his son Deepender Hooda who has been a member of Parliament thrice.
Except Nakul Nath, both the scions lost in the Lok Sabha elections.
Senior party leader Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan is a Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government. He is blocking the path of Jyotiraditya Scindia in becoming the President of the state Congress.
In Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot is also at loggerheads with his deputy Sachin Pilot.
A young leader of the party said that these leaders got a chance in the party at very young age. Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath and Ahmed Patel have been at helm of the party for decades. Party General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad has been at the centre stage and has held ministerial posts since Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister.
When Rahul Gandhi was the Congress President, he had started the process of election in the party’s student wing, the National Students Union of India, and the Youth Congress which was opposed by the senior leaders.
Priyanka Gandhi, in her campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh, had also said: “Democratisation of the party youth organisations introduced by Rahul has been opposed by some in the party.”
The Congress is lagging behind the Bharatiya Janata Party in developing a new leadership, say youth leader. The BJP has a mechanism with the RSS’ backing and the RSS student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad being the training hub for young and promising leaders. On the other hand, the Congress is stagnant with no replacement within the party, said a youth leader.