To say that the Congress is going through a major churning exercise is to understate the crisis which has overpowered the party. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) is all set to pick the party president and among the contenders are Mallikarjun Kharge, Mukul Wasnik, Sachin Pilot, Sushil Kumar Shinde, KC Venugopal, Shailaja Selja and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The obvious choice would have been Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, but she has been glossed over as Sonia presumably feels that the mantle of leadership should fall on her son.
The ideal pick for the president's post from among the choices cited here are Sachin pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia. One would expect the Congress leadership to be driven by a desperate need to infuse young blood at the highest levels of command in the party. However, that would be expecting too much of the Grand Old Party. Will Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and others sit, deliberate and choose someone like Jyotiraditya Scindia for example. They would not because neither Sonia nor Rahul might prefer that selection.
Why would the favourite horse to win the race be knocked out of contention? Sonia would not want Rahul's position to be jeopardised in any way.
Jyotiraditya Scindia has a big plus to his credit which may not go down well with the party leadership. For one thing, he comes from a very distinguished family of former rulers of Gwalior. His own father Madhavrao Scindia was not only Rajiv Gandhi's dear friend but his Cabinet colleague as well. The Scindia family holds sway over large parts of Madhya Pradesh. Morever, Jyotiraditya is a much better speaker with far greater clarity on most subjects than Rahul Gandhi. He can give the Congress prince run for his money when it comes to the party’s leadership. This is true to a large extent, of Sachin Pilot as well.
With his personal charisma as well as his hard work, Jyotiraditya was among those who piloted the Congress to victory in MP in the November 2018 elections. He was a hot contender for chief ministership, but his claims were overlooked and Kamalnath installed as chief minister instead. Jyotiraditya not only boasts of good leadership skills and organisational abilities but has a considerable following of his own. More importantly, and probably not much to the liking of the Congress High Command, he has a mind of his own. He demonstrated this the other day when he backed prime minister Modi's decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the state of J&K. His only disagreement was on the issue of procedure. Along with Milind Deora and Dipender Hooda, Scindia is a young turk who struck a discordant note expressing a divergent view from that of the party's old guard. So, one comes back to the big question would Sonia and Rahul Gandhi want to hand over the reins of the party to a young leader who would take it farther than the Gandhi scion can ever hope to.
Now that we know that the ball of leadership is back in Sonia Gandhi’s court, will she be able to revive the party’s flagging fortunes?