The EVM controversy in the context of by-poll results and contrarian views expressed by Veerappa Moily and Captain Amrinder Singh offer another important lesson for Rahul Gandhi. The AICC vice president, set to take over reins of the grand old party, needs to consult, discuss and debate within the Congress before formulating any stand on crucial issues.
The Congress may be down and out but there is no dearth of sane voices represented by many ranging from likes of Moily, Amarinder to Shashi Tharoor, Sandeep Dixit and Jairam Ramesh. There s also a vast pool of talent consisting of Dr Manmohan Singh, P.Chidambaram, A K Antony, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Milind Deora, Jyotiraditya Scindia, R P N Singh, Jitin Prasada and others.
A question that is doing rounds at New Delhi’s 24, Akbar Road is why Rahul is shy of holding in-house consultations before rolling his sleeves and jumping in? A section of the Congress was opposed to him visiting JNU to take sides with Kanhaiya Kumar. There were deep reservations over overtly opposing demonetization. The alliance with Samajwadi Party was not discussed either by the CWC or UPCC.
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Moily, who was law minister during UPA rule and his unquestionable loyalty towards the Nehru-Gandhi family, recently went on record disagreeing with the official Congress position on alleged “EVM fraud.” The former Karnataka chief minister also opposed the idea of opting for manual ballot papers and remarked, “there is no question of going manually, it's not a progressive step. I don't think we should go back."
Amrinder Singh’s electoral successes come second to none in present day Congress. Amrinder defeated Arun Jaitley in 2014 Lok Sabha when Narendra Modi wave sweeping across the country and led Congress to victory in 2017 state assembly polls. Amarinder told @ThePrint’s @ShekharGupta in Off-The-Cuff (OTC) programme, “If EVMs could be manipulated; Badal would have been sitting here not me.”
Congressmen at various levels of party hierarchy wonder why Rahul is refusing to consult his own party leaders. After all, effective questioning brings insight, which, in turn, can help the party fine-tune its strategy.
If Rahul thinks CWC is defunct body, he should form some informal think-tank, working group or constitute the Congress Parliamentary Board so that quality opinions are expressed and incorporated. It is pertinent to point out that since 1997; there have been no elections to the CWC though the Congress Constitution decrees that at least half the members should be elected from the AICC delegates.
(Rasheed Kidwai is the Associate Editor with The Telegraph. His Twitter handle is: @rasheedkidwai)
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