The Congress Stands Divided

For the first time in years, India’s ‘grand old party’ is riven with open clashes of personality and ideology

Digvijay Singh’s opinion piece is what first showed cracks in the Congress.
Digvijay Singh’s opinion piece is what first showed cracks in the Congress.

It is paradoxical that deep divisions have surfaced despite the fact that after the 2009 general elections, the UPA government appeared more stable than it had been in the previous five years, when it was dependent on the Left for a majority in the Lok Sabha. While the elections had resulted in both the Left and the Right—the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance—becoming politically weaker, today the UPA-II government is more incoherent than ever before.

On 14 April, Digvijay Singh, one of the senior-most general secretaries of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) and reportedly a close confidante of Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, dropped a bombshell in the form of an editorial page article. The article—somewhat curiously published by a financial daily, TheEconomic Times—was not just significant for the critical remarks it made about the Home Minister’s strategy to counter left-wing extremism; what took many by surprise was the sheer vituperation of the attack:

I have known P Chidambaram since 1985 when we both were elected to Parliament. He is extremely intelligent, articulate, committed and a sincere politician—but extremely rigid once he makes up his mind. I have been a victim of his intellectual arrogance many times, but we are still good friends. In this case, I have differed with his (counter-Maoist) strategy that does not take into consideration the people living in the affected area who ultimately matter. He is treating it purely as a law and order problem without taking into consideration the issues that affect the tribals…

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    Paranjoy Guha Thakurta  is an independent journalist.

    Keywords: Manmohan Singh Congress UPA Mamata Banerjee Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Sonia Gandhi Pranab Mukherjee Digvijay Singh P Chidambaram NDA