Why is Congress behaving erratically?
The Congress has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Two Cabinet ministers belonging to the party, both Punjabis had to quit the government recently following separate controversies.
However, the manner in which the resignations were handled left a lot to be desired and has created an impression that a rift exists between the Prime Minister’s office and the party High Command.
Realising that the damage had been done, Congress chief spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi did try to correct the perception by stating that both the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were on the same page while dealing with the matter.
But many in political circles do not seem convinced with the claim and feel that the controversies have generated a heat which both the party and the government will face when they celebrate nine years of UPA rule on May 22.
So far as the Congress is concerned, no worker has any doubt that Sonia Gandhi is the supreme leader and it is she who calls the shots while the government only executes her policies and programmes.
But lately, there have been confusing signals coming out from within the party when first Janardhan Dwivedi suggested that the dual power centre policy has worked and will be there in the future too.
He was obviously referring to the party being controlled by Ms Gandhi and the government by Dr Manmohan Singh and the two of them because of their extraordinary chemistry were successfully running the coalition. If things were smooth why should this be stated at all, some leaders ask.
Lately, another top party leader Digvijaya Singh observed that there should be only one power centre and that should be the Prime Minister. The buck has to stop at the Prime Minister’s office.
The two views have for some reason created an ambiguity of how the party leadership looks at the issue of dual power centre. Unless the High Command clarifies, this confusion will persist.
The Congress has done exceedingly well in Karnataka and if it wishes to consolidate its position in the rest of the country, it has to do much more than what it is doing. The party’s overall credibility has been low and the perception about the government’s performance too is worrying.
And if for some reason, the message goes out that the government and the party was not on the same page on key decisions, the fallout will be disastrous.
Only time will tell, how things will play out and how the Congress and the PMO will be seen as two sides of the same coin.