From Indira to Sonia to Rahul, the Nehru-Gandhis' Chequered History on Handling Rebellion

www.news18.com
6 min read
fairly difficult
In 1969, a group of senior Congress leaders, called the Syndicate clique, had evicted Indira Gandhi from the Congress. Years later, Sonia Gandhi had to face humiliation at the hands of Sharad Pawar and PA Sangma at a CWC meeting.
The Congress plans to move into the new party office on Delhi's Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Marg around its 136th foundation day on December 28. Preceding these plans, two questions are doing the rounds -- would it have a full-time new party president and would it remain united.

Both questions assume significance in the context of the ongoing tug-of-war between 23 dissenters and Congress office-bearers who are led by interim chief Sonia Gandhi. On the face of it, a letter written by these 23 dissenters, seeking sweeping changes in the party, may not appear to be 'anti-party' activity. But a careful reading would indicate the signatories' lack of confidence in the top political leadership represented by three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family -- Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka.

Sonia Gandhi has sought six months' time to hold party elections, but it is always easier said than done. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be a difficult task to hold party polls, particularly if a contest for Congress president's post takes place. It will be curious to see whether dissenters would challenge Rahul Gandhi if he throws his hat in the ring.

Prior to the present crisis, Gandhis have had a chequered history of facing political challenge from within.

There has been no precedence of a failure of a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Therefore, the current round of power struggle within the Congress assumes significance on how Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka would negotiate the challenge posed by a group of 23 prominent leaders.

In 1969, a group of senior Congress leaders, called the Syndicate clique, had evicted Indira Gandhi from the Congress, leading to a split in the party. An emotional Indira insisted that Congress membership was her 'birthright' and that she had been irrevocably born a Congressperson many years ago in Anand Bhawan.

"Nobody can throw me out of the Congress. It is not a legal question, nor one of passing a resolution to pronounce an expulsion order. It is a question…
Rasheed Kidwai
Read full article