India: Congress poll preparations in doldrums

  • Congress’s preparations for upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand appear to be in the doldrums as cadres await the return of ‘outgoing president’ Rahul Gandhi from the US so that the CWC can meet and decide on its future leadership.
  • In Haryana, CM Manohar Lal has intensified poll preparations in coordination with the BJP central leadership. However, most senior Congress leaders in Haryana have demanded a new leadership team for the state unit.
  • In Maharashtra, Congress leaders are virtually sitting in the pavilion even as the Shiv Sena has embarked on a state-wide pre-poll yatra and the BJP is about to launch a yatra led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
  • While Congress ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has agreed to contest the Maharashtra assembly polls in an alliance, the absence of leadership in the All India Congress Committee has meant no meaningful discussions on sharing of seats.
  • In Jharkhand, the state Congress is divided over whether to tie up again with the JMM and RJD even as several party leaders seek the removal of the party’s state president, saying he is an “outsider” who originally belonged to Karnataka.
  • A group of senior Congress leaders has “exchanged notes” with Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, conducted an internal opinion poll on the future leader and framed a proposal for appointing an interim party president and a steering committee to hold organisational polls to elect a full-fledged party chief. However, the Karnataka crisis, the Parliament session and Gandhi’s foreign trip have delayed the CWC meeting.

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