Cong in transition & Rahul’s options

Semi Column

As Rahul Gandhi virtually takes over the reins of the Congress after his formal anointment as No 2 shortly — with party president Sonia Gandhi expected to play a patron's role — there is much suspense about the impending organisational reshuffle: who from among the old guards will perish and who will survive; who will be the new kids on the block; et al?

A strong contingent of the Youth Congress and the NSUI — almost half of the 300-odd delegates — has been invited to Jaipur "chintan shivir" indicating generational shift in the 127-year-old party. Some of these "elected" YC delegates owe it to their families, some to political "patronage", some to "money", and most to all three factors combined. Given that nobody knows his views on issues confronting the country, it's anybody's guess as to what drew these youngsters into the YC.

Be as it may, is Rahul ready to make some experiments in the parent party? Given plans to replace PCC chiefs of about a dozen states, can he appoint IYC chief Rajiv Satav Maharashtra PCC chief in place of Manikrao Thakre? What about first elected Punjab YC chief Ravneet Singh Bittu replacing Capt Amarinder Singh as PCC chief.

If these suggestions sound ludicrous given the cast of characters involved, Rahul can, at least, start with those who may not be products of his democratisation experiment but who have proved their mettle. After all, the late Rajiv Gandhi had handpicked Digvijaya Singh to lead the party in Madhya Pradesh. What about projecting some new face, say, Jyotiraditya Scindia, to lead the party in MP now. Isn't it unfair to expect PCC chief Kantilal Bhuria to take on Shivraj Singh Chouhan? Why not make Sachin Pilot or Jitendra Singh the party's face in Rajasthan? And how long should Deepender Hooda and Sandeep Dikshit wait for their respective father and mother to be out of power to get their due in the organisation?

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