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Saturday, May 21, 2016, Jaistha 7, 1423 BS, Shaban 13, 1437 Hijri

Moment of truth for Sonia: ?major surgery? in Congress looms
Published :Saturday, 21 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 20

NEW DELHI, May 20: Does the party wish to remain a 'Sonia Congress', with little hope in the future, given that neither Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka Gandhi have demonstrated any talent that appeals to the average Congress member? Or is there anyone in the wider 'Congress Parivar', so to speak, who can breathe life into a moribund Indian National Congress?
 India's oldest political party requires a new lease of life. While the BJP may seek a 'Congress-mukt India' and Modi may return to power in 2019.
The question is, who can and who will take the lead? Perhaps Sonia Gandhi can give a call to all those who began their political life in the Congress to come together, elect a new leadership and take the party forward.
A re-energised Mamata Banerjee may boost Congress morale if she is made President of a newly reconstituted Indian National Congress. The likes of Sharad Pawar , GK Vasan, Jaganmohan Reddy and so on should be re-inducted.
It will mean the end of the 'family and coterie' based management of party's affairs, and a return to where the party was in the early 1990s. It may take a decade for the new INC to regain power.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has made two pitches to the beleagured party: "major surgery, not mere introspection" and a more active role by Priyanka Gandhi."Priyanka is not in politics. If she comes into politics, it will make Congress workers happy," Singh said.
Despite the defeat, Congress sources said the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party president would not be delayed. They said a reshuffle in the AICC and his elevation was round the corner.
"The time for introspection is now past. Time for action has come? Rahul Gandhi should take over the party sooner rather than later," Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.
And along with a completely new team? "I can't say a completely new set of leaders as some of the experienced ones will have to continue but a mixture of leaders which include a lot more young and fresh faces who are more reflective of the future of the Congress than of its past," he said.
The Sonia Congress can comfort itself by drawing attention to the role of provincial factors in determining the electoral outcome, and insist that these results will have no impact on the standing of the party's national leadership. But, the fact is that the Congress party's moment of truth has arrived.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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