With an angry Rahul Gandhi sulking and his mother Sonia Gandhi returning to take charge of the Congress, the syndicate of her coterie is back in the party and asserting its clout.
This is clear from a slew of decisions taken during the last over one month after Sonia Gandhi took charge, most of which have been undoing of the decisions taken during the presidentship of her son Rahul Gandhi.
To name a few, Rahul Gandhi’s appointee Ashok Tanwar was removed as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party General Secretary In-Charge of Haryana, sided with Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The seniors in the party are not willing to hand over the baton to young leadership, said a youth leader considered close to Rahul’s team. The return of Sonia Gandhi is also marked by return of her powerful political Secretary Ahmed Patel, who is now Treasurer of the party.
The buzz in the Congress is that there is a power tussle between the respective teams of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. ‘Team Sonia’ is calling the shots in AICC, a party leader said.
This was clear during the episode involving the dramatic appearance and press conference at the AICC headquarters on August 21 by P. Chidambaram, who was wanted by CBI in INX deal case.
His appearance at 24, Akbar Road, accompanied by a host of Congress workers and leaders like Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha, was organized and choreographed by Patel.
The press meet was organized to enable Chidambaram to tell the media that he was not on the run and that he had done no wrong.
Even on Monday last, before Sonia Gandhi along with Manmohan Singh went to meet Chidambaram in Tihar jail, she sent Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad to meet him.
However, in these series of events, Janardan Dwivedi has been missed out. He was removed by Rahul Gandhi. But Motilal Vora enjoys the same clout, being In-charge of the party Headquarter.
At the same time, Rahul Gandhi has managed retention of some of his close confidantes in key positions, like K C Venugopal, who continues as General Secretary (Oganisation).
The appointments of election screening committees in Maharashtra and Haryana also had the stamp of Rahul Gandhi. Jyotiraditya Scindia was made the head of Maharashtra screening committee while Madhusudan Mistry was made the head of Haryana screening committee.
Mistry, like Patel, hails from Gujarat and two are considered rivals in the state politics.
The recent appointment of Supriya Shrinate, Ragini Nayak and Sharmishta Mukherjee in the AICC media department also tells the story of Rahul intervening in party affairs.