Desertions In Congress Continue: Why Do The Party Horses Have No Fear Of Whip?

Desertions In Congress Continue: Why Do The Party Horses Have No Fear Of Whip?

In the recent Rajya Sabha elections held in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress had to face a shameful defeat despite having a majority in the assembly. In a shocking result to the congress, its candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi lost his battle to BJP’s Harsh Mahajan on February 27, despite the Congress being in power in the state with 40 MLAs in the 68-member Assembly and also having the support of three independent MLAs.

BJP, which had just 25 MLAs, managed to secure 9 additional votes by luring three Independents and six Congress MLAs for cross-voting for the BJP. It was not the first time that the Congress had to face defeat due to jumping over the stable wall by its horses.

In June 2022, Kartikeya Sharma managed a sensational victory as an independent candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana by defeating Congress’ heavyweight candidate, Ajay Maken, despite Congress having the required strength in the assembly.

The Congress had a total of 31 MLAs in Haryana Assembly but Kuldeep Bishnoi, reportedly regularly being humiliated by the party and especially by Former CM Hooda, didn’t vote for the party candidate. Maken got only 30 votes out of which one vote was declared invalid as another anti-Hooda legislator adopted such a path that the vote got rejected without anyone having even an inkling of the same.

In June 2016 also, INLD & Congress supported a candidate for Rajya Sabha, R K Anand, despite having a sufficient vote back, lost to BJP-backed independent candidate Subhash Chandra after 14 Congress votes were declared invalid. Now the question arises – ‘Why every time Congress gets a jolt despite having sufficient numbers?’

When horses jump out of a stable by crossing over the wall, the main reason is the stable master, being weak and helpless, loses control over his horses, other supporting reasons are – instead of the dry grass being fed in the stable, there is some alluring soft green grass outside, repeated mental and physical torture of the horses in the stable or some vicious dacoit breaking into the stable.

In the just occurred Himachal episode, six congress MLAs, under the vicious plan of some hidden hands, (however, ‘Yeh Public Hai, Sab Janti Hai’), who were using these MLAs as scapegoats for their elevation, revolted against the party - which afforded them to become MLAs, for the allurement of getting some cream. They have no fear of the party whip as they know the High Command is not so strong and it can’t take any stern action. “Lethargic policy and passive ride, spare the rod and spoil the child.”

In July 2020, Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, Sachin Pilot along with 18 MLAs revolted against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The plan reportedly was getting oxygen from the BJP to topple the Gehlot government. Addressing a program in Dholpur, Gehlot had said his government could be saved because of the support of three BJP leaders -- former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, former assembly speaker Kailash Meghwal and MLA Shobharani Kushwah.

In Punjab, two times chief minister under the congress umbrella, Captain Amarinder Singh, feeling humiliated in the party left the congress and floated his outfit -- Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) in 2021 and fought the assembly election in February 2022 from Patiala as an alliance partner of BJP, but lost.

Gehlot also alleged the involvement of money in this scandal. The revelations of Gehlot in the Sachin Pilot episode outrightly prove the involvement of all the above-stated factors causing instigation to the Rajasthan MLAs under the headship of Pilot. Sensing the weak and indecisive High Command, under the temptation of green grass outside (Money and Honey -- lucrative and creamy post in the new to be formed government), allured by some vicious dacoits, the humiliated Pilot segment jumped over the wall of the stable without any hesitation.

What did the defectors get?

The major factor of revolt comes out as the over-expectations of the disgruntled, whether it is Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab or Haryana. What did they get? History speaks so. Ashok Tanwar, a former president of Haryana Pradesh Congress, has again proved the proverb- ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’. He left Congress (2019) seeing that he had no chance of getting enthroned on the CM chair in the congress till Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his main contender, was in Congress, established his outfit, joined TMC(2021), worked for Aam Adami Party (2022-24), smelling the alliance of AAP and Congress party in Haryana and seeing again being dropped in the dust bin in the Hooda dominated alliance, Tanwar joined BJP(2024) just to have a Lok Sabha ticket. His dream of CM chair has again dashed to the ground.

In Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot, a first choice of Rahul Gandhi, who became the rebellious leader in Congress to gain the CM post, not only lost his Rajasthan Pradesh Congress President chair but also lost his Deputy CM post. In Punjab, two times chief minister under the congress umbrella, Captain Amarinder Singh, feeling humiliated in the party left the congress and floated his outfit -- Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) in 2021 and fought the assembly election in February 2022 from Patiala as an alliance partner of BJP, but lost. Not only he, the captain of PLC, but all his candidates lost the ground fight. Captain’s alliance partner BJP also dashed to the ground and could win only 2 seats out of 117 assembly seats.

Smelling a murky future for his PLC, Captain Amarinder dipped into the BJP’s Ocean to get some reputable position, but he is now rusting like Advani. And now in Himachal Pradesh, where the state Congress President Pratibha Singh, who, just after the results of the election were declared, was the first to stake claim for the CM post. But before the high command, she could not succeed at that time and sensing the ignorance of the Chief Minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, now she is showing her teeth to bite Sukhu’s CM chair. She is telling BJP’s work better than Congress.

The incidents of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana have shown that the desire for the post of Chief Minister had been the main reason for rebellion in these provinces and the Laralappa (bluffing) policy of the High Command is responsible for this. Alleging BJP for the recent Himachal Pradesh incident, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi on February 28, 2024, ‘But BJP wants to crush this right of the people of Himachal by misusing the money power, power of agencies and power of the Centre,’ also shows that money power and outsider crushing agencies are involved in the horse-trading.

But Congress minister Vikramaditya Singh expresses the counterview and refutes Priyanka Gandhi’s statement blaming the BJP for horse-trading. “Blaming the Opposition party (BJP) for everything is not the solution. We should first look into our house. The Opposition party will always take the benefit of the crisis inside the house of its rival. It is our collective responsibility to put our house in order.”

Will Priyanka Gandhi still go on blaming the BJP for the failure of her party to control its horses?

Congress should digest the reality that the wolf enters the sheep pen only when it feels that the fence is weak and the keeper of the sheep flock is sleeping. So, despite all this, will the Congress High Command continue to sleep till its whole pen empties and carry on alleging others? Politics is the game of poly tricks; ‘Where no one is Near and no one is Far, everything is fair in Love & War’. Never forget, only the ‘win’ is the main target. By hook or by crook, the egret will catch the snook.

(The writer is a freelance journalist based in Chandigarh)

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