It is imperative for the Congress to be seen as a serious formation engaged in politics 24 by 7
The united fight and the conclusive victory of the Congress in the Karnataka Assembly election seem to have infused some sense of urgency and purpose in the way of functioning of the party’s national leadership which has fast-tracked the reconciliation talks between its estranged leaders in the election-bound Rajasthan. The marathon talks party president Mallikarjun Kharge and leader Rahul Gandhi have held with chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his resident dissident Sachin Pilot appear to have arrived at a tentative truce which could see the party putting up a joint fight against an equally faction-ridden BJP in the state.
The rebellion in the state unit of the Congress is as old as the Gehlot government with the rebel faction wanting it to be a Pilot government. The apathy of the central leadership had on several occasions in the past brought the government to the brink but Mr Pilot’s lack of numbers and the reluctance to part with the party kept the government going. Even the high command’s attempts to kick Mr Gehlot upstairs as party president did not succeed as he had the political savvy to foresee what was in store for him. Given the ground realities, the party can at best hope for a dynamic equilibrium instead of a permanent settlement in the state.
It is imperative for the Congress to be seen as a serious formation engaged in politics 24 by 7 if it is to lead the Opposition challenge against a Narendra Modi-led BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Three of the five states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram — that will go to polls this year will see a head-on fight between the Congress and the BJP and the party needs a creditable performance in them to sustain the tempo the Karnataka results have infused into the party. The earlier the stakeholders of the Rajasthan truce realise this, the better.