The political circle in Delhi is abuzz with rumours that the Congress party is on its way to announce a ‘big breaking’ news. This has dominated the conversations of political watchers in Lutyens for several weeks now, particularly after the party suffered a setback in Uttar Pradesh.
One of the theories doing rounds is that efforts are being made to woo the leaders who parted with Congress in the past to form their own regional outifts to return back to their parent fold.
There are also reports that one of these leaders may be handed over a key party post at the national level.
“This could even be the party’s president’s post as Mrs Gandhi is not keeping well. But nothing has firmed up yet as we are still at the nascent stage of our deliberations,” said the source requesting anonymity.
Varun Gandhi, a BJP MP, too is being discussed as a potential addition to the party. Varun, who has fallen out of favour with the current leadership of the BJP, is reportedly keen to join his cousin Rahul, who he enjoys cordial relationship with.
Varun’s addition will be a big boost to Congress not just in Uttar Pradesh, where the young BJP MP enjoys considerable clout, but also across the country.
Veteran Congress leader K V Thomas, meanwhile, made a strong call to his former party colleagues including NCP chief Sharad Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to merge their outfits with the grand old party to take on the BJP.
However, in a situation where they do not want to unite their parties with the Congress, he said an alliance can be formed of the non-BJP parties which can be headed by Sonia Gandhi while the Congress party can move forward under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
“All old congressman including Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy should join us to fight the BJP on the national front. But the best option is to merge their parties with the Congress,” Thomas told reporters.
All former Congress leaders should come back to their old party to take on BJP’s surge, he added.
“Soniaji has done a wonderful job during the UPA-1 and UPA-2, and most of these non-BJP parties have worked with her.
“Now for a national cause all the non-BJP parties which believe in democratic principles and secularism should come together under the leadership of Mrs Gandhi to take on the saffron party,” the former Union Minister said.
In the past, left parties have worked with us, Congress is still their principle opposition party in Kerala, Thomas said, adding “I feel on national front we can come together”.
He said all these parties should come together not only for the elections but on the various issues which dominate the national discourse.
The recent state assembly elections have proved that the Congress was a party which can take on the BJP at the national level, Thomas said, adding that out of five states, people had voted his party to power in Punjab.
While in two states–Goa and Manipur, people voted to bring the Congress into power but the BJP being power at the Centre used its machinery to form the governments in these two states.
Some sources even suggested that Banerjee may be offered to lead the Congress at the all India level because of popularity in West Bengal and across the country. Her admiration for the Gandhi family too appears to go in favour should the conversation around a mega merger really gains momentum.
As for Pawar, he had parted ways with Congress on the issue of foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi. Since the possible merger will mean a new leader replacing Sonia, Pawar will have no difficulties in convincing his colleagues to return to Congress.
Jagan had quit Congress in exasperation after the central leadership of the party had not refused to appoint him the heir to his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a air crash while in office as Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister. Many senior party members even in Delhi believe that by not letting Jagan take over the mantle from his father was a costly mistake.
(With PTI inputs)