By Haresh Jhala
Gandhinagar, Oct 1 (IANS): While differences and groupism in the Rajasthan Congress are visible in public, in the Gujarat Congress the infighting has not become public so far. But it is deep rooted and is eroding the confidence of party workers and demoralising them, affecting the party's poll prospects, is the general feeling of party workers and political analysts.
The Gujarat Congress had planned to appoint only two working presidents, but in the name of caste equations went on to appoint five working presidents to keep different groups happy. The fear of desertions has gripped the party so much that it has failed to appoint 70 state secretaries, media spokesperson and team. The party has also almost decided to renominate its 64 sitting MLAs which has demoralised other aspiring leaders. Because of such decisions, local leaders have started quitting the party, for example Mahisagar district vice president Udesinh Chauhan resigned from the party and is now going to contest on the AAP symbol.
Senior party leader Arjun Modhwadia admits, "There are differences among state leaders, but these differences are confined to within the party, none of us ever made any allegations or targeted each other in public. Leaders have buried their differences in the party interest and have taken decisions with unity."
The differences between the Congress leaders are overplayed by the opposition BJP and the RSS to tarnish the party's image before the voters, claims Paresh Dhanani, former Leader of Opposition. Unfortunately the Congress is not able to counter this propaganda effectively, which is why the differences look more than they are, he adds.
There is not a single political party that does not face groupism, but the difference between the BJP and the Congress is that groupism in the Congress is visible in public. It should be within the party forums only, whereas in the BJP it is invisible. In the Congress groupism hurts the party's prospects, in the BJP individual leaders can't harm it much. In the BJP you can learn about groups and differences only after the event is over, whereas in the Congress it begins before the event and it affects the workers and demoralises them, says political analyst Dilip Gohil.
His study of the Congress reveals that the old Janata Dal group led by Siddharth Patel has lost political weightage in the party, whereas late Ahmed Patel's two staunch supporters Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhwadia are heading two small groups in Saurashtra. Till recently there was only one group led by Bharatsinh Solanki, but after Jagdish Thakor was made GPCC president, the Congress OBC group is now divided into the Thakor and Solanki groups.
The Rajasthan crisis' fallout on the Gujarat Congress would be on the funds flow to the party during election time. Because Gujarat Congress in-charge Raghu Sharma and senior in-charge Ashok Gehlot both come from Rajasthan, the party campaign and selection of candidates will be affected for at least fifteen days, feels Gohil.