DELHI RESULTS-CONG: Rudderless Congress in for another shock; senior leaders at their wits’ end

NEW DELHI: If Delhi poll results go heavily against the Congress, which is quite likely, a mutiny of sorts in the Congress party cannot be ruled out. 

Several Congress leaders are keeping their mouth shut, but rumour mill has it that they have started blaming the leadership for the abject disinterest the Sonia-Rahul establishment is showing in revving up the spirits of the grand old party.

Prominent Congress leader and a right-hand man of Sonia Gandhi, PC Chacko, is seeing red in Delhi. With exit polls predicting a victory for the ruling AAP in the assembly polls, the blame game has started in the Congress that once held sway in the national capital.

Chacko, however, said he did not think the exit-poll results which predicted a return of AAP to power was “all that correct.” In many words, he indirectly conceded defeat for the Congress.

Party chief Sonia Gandhi is bed-ridden and hospitalized while former chief Rahul Gandhi is seen to be totally confused about the way forward for the party and also about his future role in the Congress establishment. He would not take up the party president post, nor would he allow his sister Priyanka Gandhi to make a try. The mother, who was a tower of strength for the party for many years, is no more in a position to keep up her fighting spirit. She still hopes her son would shape up.

The Congress going into oblivion meant the leaders’ undoing too in politics. There were rumours that several Congress leaders are willing to cross over to the BJP, if they got a chance. 

After the massive win for PM Modi in the 2019 LS polls, the BJP however is in no mood to extend an open arm to one and all. Even the series of assembly election defeats did not shatter the BJP’s confidence since more than four years are left for the Modi-Shah team to end their present term in power. They seem to believe there is a whole lot of time for them to finish off rivals, one by one. 

This was the same stand that Amit Shah as then party chief took when the Maharashtra assembly polls resulted in a fractured verdict. He stated privately that if the Sena wanted to upset the BJP applecart, so be it.

A prominent face for the Congress in Delhi was PC Chacko, who functioned as the Delhi unit in charge of the party for quite some time. He hailed from Kerala, once a defector from the Congress, but later got into the good books of Sonia Gandhi — also through strong Church-support — and held forth from the national capital. He openly stated, after the exit poll results put the Congress in the sidelines, that the party’s election committee chairman Kirti Azad messed up with the campaign and candidate selections. He also expressed a desire to “come out of Delhi, and concentrate on Kerala” vis-à-vis party affairs.

Local Congressmen were largely dead set against Chacko, and they accused him of being rootless in Delhi and at the same time engaged in large-scale corruption. Chacko doubled as a businessman and controls a PVC pipe manufacturing business back home in Kerala. 

Those pitted against Chacko, resulting in a major group war in the Delhi state Congress party in the months immediately before the assembly polls, included Sandip Dikshit, son of deceased former CM, Sheila Dikshit. Sheila’s son once accused of Chacko being responsible for the death of his mother in July 2019. Chacko also functioned as the Congress spokesperson in Delhi. 

Those opposed to Chacko in the Delhi Congress leadership say he messed up with matters and promoted his personal interests as the Delhi unit in-charge, in the absence of a party president for DCC. A set of district chiefs from Delhi state had recently written a hard-hitting letter against Chacko to Sonia Gandhi. They are bound to put the entire blame on Chacko for the present plight of the Congress in the national capital.

PC Chacko, 73, had been a close associate of NCP leader Sharad Pawar for a long time and is said to be tainted. He had represented Thrissur in the Lok Sabha. Chacko was defeated in Chalakkudy by Malayalam actor Innocent of the Left Front in 2014. 

Notably, Chacko headed the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) that went into the 2G Scam of the UPA II period, and allegedly helped cover up the corruption-related allegations through deft manipulations at the JPC. — IHN-NN


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