A month after Sonia as chief, Congress still has no revival plan

NEW DELHI: Nearly a month after Sonia Gandhi took over as the party chief, pulls and pressures from various factions, bitter infighting among state leadership and lack of clarity on the party’s revival plan post-Lok Sabha poll debacle continues to ail the grand old party.

Sonia took over as interim Congress president on August 10 after the party failed to find a suitable leader to revamp the party. In last one month, Sonia has ensured that decisions on appointments related to poll-bound states of Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra are taken without delay but she has stayed away from major reforms. “Her first task was to settle things in poll-bound states. The focus is now on Madhya Pradesh and after that trouble brewing in Rajasthan needs to be settled. Reshuffle of AICC in charges and state party chiefs are also on the cards,” said party sources.

According to a senior party leader, she is still trying to get a complete hold of party affairs after Rahul Gandhi stepped down as the president. The leader says that recent party appointments reflect that both old and young camps are having a say in decision making.

Balasaheb Thorat was seemingly brought in as Maharashtra chief as a compromise candidate. Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is engaged in a bitter fight with party leadership in Madhya Pradesh, was made the chairman of screening committee in Maharashtra while Manickam Tagore, MP from Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, was made part of the screening committee. Tagore is considered as part of Rahul’s team. “By-polls to 13 Assembly constituencies in UP are due but there are no district units as all have been dissolved post-Lok Sabha elections, so who will work for the party. A similar situation exists in many states and the delay in reviving state units is demoralising the cadres,” said a senior party functionary.

In Jharkhand, Rahul appointee Ajoy Kumar quit as state chief blaming colleagues. Kumar was replaced by Rameshwar Oraon, an old guard. Haryana saw former state CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda finding his way to remove Ashok Tanwar, a young leader, as state chief