As the dust is settling down after the Lok Sabha elections, the task is cut out for the Congress party which was routed by the Modi wave winning only 44 seats. Though the Gandhi loyalists will try to save party vice president Rahul Gandhi from criticism for he was the leading the campaign, many Congress seniors may target his inner coterie during the Congress Working Committee meeting today.
Anil Shastri, special invitee to the CWC, is learnt to have even shot off a letter to Rahul pointing out the flaws in the campaign strategy formulated and executed by his team.
According to party sources, there are already rumblings in Rahul’s team, with his aides trying to blame each other. While party sources targeted Rahul’s close aide Kanishka Singh for “misleading” him — about the party’s prospects and the poll strategy in terms of selection of candidates, campaign plan and deployment of resources — and blocking party leaders’ “access” to the Congress vice-president, another section targeted Mohan Gopal, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies, who was reported to be calling the shots in the team.
“Remember that Mohan Gopal was the NSUI president in 1977 and yet Rahul chose him as his key advisor,” said a Congress leader, adding that Gopal had “totally replaced” Jairam Ramesh who did not play much role in election management, including in planning Rahul’s rallies and speeches, “unlike in 2004 and 2009 elections”.
Some CWC members also expressed disagreement with the party leadership’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, which resulted in the party being routed from a state in which it had won 33 seats in 2009. Sources said many senior leaders including A K Antony and Digvijaya Singh had opposed the creation of Telangana, but Sonia had gone along with the view of Ghulam Nabi Azad, who had argued that the party would do well in Telangana as K Chandrasekhar Rao had given him the word that he would merge the TRS with the Congress after the creation of the new state.