No credible alternative, feel partymen; growing pressure for a clean sweep of all the current functionaries who have been at the helm for the last two decades and more
The clamour in the Congress for vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take over as president of the Party will increase as soon as he returns from abroad with ailing mother Sonia Gandhi, a party functionary told The Hindu.
He said senior leaders would impress on Mr. Gandhi that time is running out for him and the party, and that he needs to take charge immediately, and form his team — and formulate his strategy — for 2019.
Though Congress members, reeling between anger and despair ever since the results of the Assembly elections came in on March 11, seem to be running out of patience, they are still united in their understanding that Mr. Gandhi should continue to be their leader, as Ms. Gandhi is now too frail to play an active role.
Conversations with a cross section reveal that party members feel there is still no credible alternative in the party to the Gandhis who, they say, act as the glue that is holding the party together.
Given this understanding, there is Growing Pressure for a clean sweep of all the current functionaries who have been at the helm for the last two decades and more.
They point particularly to the manner in which the BJP upstaged the Congress in Manipur and Goa, even though the party had emerged as the single largest in both States.
Need for coalition
Meanwhile, the debate in the party over the need to form a coalition of opposition parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2019 federal elections is also gaining momentum.
While some are opposed to it, pointing to the disastrous results in Uttar Pradesh, many others — from Mani Shankar Aiyar to C.P. Joshi — are pushing for it.
There is a third group of old-timers — who currently do not hold any posts — who say it will be acceptable only if the Congress has a central role in any coalition that is formed.
When Mr. Gandhi returns, he will have his plate full: but if he does not embark on the task of restructuring the party — as he had promised in the immediate aftermath of the poll results — it will be another opportunity lost
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