This is not the first time that Ghulam Nabi Azad has worn a saffron turban in Jammu. As Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he wore it whenever he visited Hindu-dominated Jammu. But on Saturday, when not only Azad but seven others wore it and spoke about the state of Congress, he made a powerful statement; especially since saffron is also associated with BJP.
Not that the G-23, or G-8 as they were that day, are even considering switching to BJP. They made it clear that they were with Congress, but the current state of the party was unacceptable to them.
Congress formally responded to the Jammu meeting by calling on the G-23 to be high-level members of the party and should instead campaign in states linked to the poll. But a member of the G-23 told News18.com: “Have we even been involved in the polling strategy? Did they ask us to campaign? We have been excluded. “
So what’s the next step? Jammu was clearly not the last stop. Similar meetings are also planned in other states. The next one might be Himachal Pradesh, where Anand Sharma is interestingly from.
Sharma has her grudges. The man, who was a staunch devotee of the Gandhi family and was at one point the eyes and ears of the Gandhi, is now out in the cold. His immediate grudge is that if he has a year left to join Rajya Sabha, he was neglected for the post of opposition leader which went to Rahul Gandhi loyalist Mallikarjun Kharge. A source close to Sharma said: “It will be unacceptable for him to listen to Kharge’s orders.” Sharma is Deputy Leader of the Opposition to Rajya Sabha.
After Himachal Pradesh, other states that will have similar meetings are Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi. But it doesn’t end here. G-23 members are considering the possibility of running a candidate for the presidential congressional election in June. If Rahul Gandhi is a candidate, it is clear that he will not face any problem, but a “rebel” standing against him will only pick up the dirt.
The G-23 took care to camouflage its dissent by promoting a strong Congress. In Jammu, that’s what most of the leaders said. The letter they wrote to Sonia Gandhi in August argued that it was a party without a leader and without a rudder. Even now they are asking who makes the decisions for the party in the absence of a full-time president as Sonia Gandhi is no longer involved in day-to-day affairs. The excavation is clearly in Rahul Gandhi. And this is where the G-23 is attacked by current leaders in Congress who say they are “ungrateful and are now hurting the party in the midst of the polls.”
Congress was retained in its response to the Jammu meeting. It is unlikely that action will be taken against dissidents, as this would encourage distraction from the ballot box. Although the rebels are not talking about separating from the party, they know it is inevitable. The split in Congress is highly conceivable and it could be timed with Rahul Gandhi officially taking the reins of the party. The ball has just started.