Here are a few instances in past when Sonia Gandhi and Congress had internal dissent
Interim President of Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi has offered to resign from the post during the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting. This comes amid the Congress leaders being divided on the leadership issue, some calling for a non-Gandhi President while others reposting faith in the Gandhi family. After merely saving their government in the Rajasthan, Congress is witnessing internal rebellion of sorts.
23 senior leaders of the Congress, including 5 former CMs, sitting MPs, members of the Congress Working Committee, and former Union Ministers have written to Sonia Gandhi for a change at every level. The leaders have acknowledged in the letter that the youth of the nation have unequivocally chosen Narendra Modi over the Congress. They also underlined that the loss of confidence of the youth and the erosion of the party’s support base is a serious concern for the party.
Congress leaders at several levels accept the sentiments of the workers and sympathisers that after two consecutive humiliating defeats in Lok Sabha election and a string of defeats in Assembly elections, the party cannot move ahead with similar business-as-usual mindset.
Both the senior and young leaders have flagged their concerns on many issues such as delay in organizational appointments, uncertainty over the leadership, absence of free and frank discussion within the party.
Has Congress seen similar issue earlier too?
The Indian National Congress has not seen such coordinated dissent by its leaders in recent times, at least not since Sonia Gandhi firmly established her grip on the leadership at the start of this decade. We also have a take account that the party was in power for 10 years till 2014 from 2004. It must have disincentivized dissent within the party.
But after the humiliating defeat in 2014 general elections, murmurs against Rahul Gandhi when he was at the helm started. The disconnect between Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders reached a point where it came in open.
The 135 years old Congress is not new to dissent, turmoil and splits. But this time one thing is different. The party has been out of power in the center for more than 6 years (second highest period in its history, longest being during 1996 to 2004) and there is no hope for 4 more years.
Congress had a major crisis in 1998 too but that time a non-Gandhi was the President- Sitaram Kesari. The rebels were against him and were orchestrated by Sonia Gandhi’s well-wisher to appoint her the President.
There was another rebellion in the early 1990s. This too was against the non-Gandhi President, Narsimha Rao. This resulted in Arjun Singh and N D Tiwari breaking away and launching a new party.
Has Sonia Gandhi been challenged before?
Sonia Gandhi faced a challenge in her initial year soon after she was made Congress President. Ahead of the 1999 general elections, senior leader Sharad Pawar along with P A Sangma and Tariq Anwar revolted against her appointment saying that she belonged to Italy. They were expelled and thus, NCP ((National Congress Party) was born.
Also, Jitendra Prasad in 2001 threw a challenge to her leadership by contesting against her for the post of Congress President. Sonia easily defeated him and retained the crown.
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