Vishal Sarin/ Dec 12
Reading between the lines, the political formula devised in Himachal Pradesh by the Congress’s high command indicates a silent message for all INC strongholds, where infighting plagues them across the Nation. The grand old party has an inherited problem of infighting within it. Not just that some leaders are opportunists here, having remained the oldest party in power, issues like undercutting, infighting etc., are perpetual. Moreover, parivarvad, blue blood heavyweights, have always commanded the narrative. Therefore, when the time came, the party’s high command displayed innovative thinking by devising a intermediate path formula, thus sending a loud message.
In an assembly of 68 seats where the scope for cabinet is 12 members, the INC decided to have a CM and Dy CM for the first time. Political commentators acknowledge that undoubtedly, any other method in HP could have landed the Congress Government in danger, and therefore this was the move of the moment.
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and many more, the INC has already paid a high price due to this inherited issue. In fact, they lost the government in MP to BJP and were almost on the verge of giving away Rajasthan to it.
Political analysts feel that not only the within-party divide has been taken care of somewhat by the party but also a message to all its cadres that stop in-fight and start contesting together, wherein the party will back up with all possible support when the time comes.
Noteworthy is that in the recent past, the party has taken a middle path several times. Beginning from the elections of the National president, the party has been seen handling crisis by greeting both fighting factions together. Before HP, the latest case; was the way the party dealt with the Rajashtan faction, wherein they succeeded in getting Gehlot and Pilot together, who now are being heard talking about the in-fight as an accident which usually takes place in such political battles of power.
Taking the case of Himachal Pradesh, like rival BJP, the Congress party signals that those who have been serving the organisation from grass root can make it to the top post. Also that a common man can make it to power. After Stalwart Virbhadra Singh passed away, the leadership vacuum was being widely discussed in political circles. Speculations were that Holly Lodge (home of VBS) should continue to remain the power centre. However, after evaluating the elected MLAs’ mindset, the party took a stand in favour of those who had support with sizeable numbers. Even wife of late CM and MP from Mandi parliamentary Pratibha Singh was given due credence by being instated as the party state president. There are also rumours that late Virbhadra’s son might get a cabinet berth to even the poles.
While congratulating the Congress, the analysts state that, though power has been assumed in HP, this seat comes with thorns. As after allowing OPS and Rs 1500/- per woman in the first cabinet, relieving the debt-ridden state would be a huge challenge.