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Pitroda row: How inaction on lack of discipline has ruined Congress

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Niraj Sharma
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A file photo of Sam Pitroda (extreme left) with Rahul Gandhi in London

A file photo of Sam Pitroda (extreme left) with Rahul Gandhi in London

New Delhi: The Congress isn't seemingly learning from past mistakes, or its political opponents. It is seen as reluctant to act against senior leaders, often perceived to be close to the first family of the grand old party, despite their indiscipline and actions that hurt the party.

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This was starkly evident in the way the Congress acted against its overseas unit chief Sam Pitroda after his repeated controversial comments during the peak Lok Sabha election campaign season.

While Congress’ opponents like the Bharatiya Janata Party and even the Bahujan Samaj Party suppress its indiscipline leaders ruthlessly, the grand old party is seemingly mollycoddling its seniors who are perceived to be close to Gandhis. 

A major resentment is brewing within the party for allowing Pitroda off lightly, as instead of being sacked he was allowed to resign from the position, even after repeatedly making remarks that have hurt the Congress prospects in the ongoing general election process.

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Party sources even pointed towards the prompt and unprecedented action by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati against her self-anointed political successor Akash Anand a few days back, when he was unceremoniously removed from all political positions for taking a line which was considered to be not in tune with the BSP’s ideology.

Similarly, the BJP leadership is known to completely sideline and finish the political careers of any leaders within the saffron ranks who are seen to be acting against the party’s interest.

The examples being cited are senior leaders Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha, Uma Bharti and Varun Gandhi. These leaders were completely sidelined and their saffron political future was ended, making them majorly irrelevant, after their stances against the party.

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Congress sources asked when even smaller opponents like BSP have the courage to act against its top-ranking leaders, why is the grand old party’s high command so reluctant to act against Pitroda?  

“And this isn’t a one-off incident. During the last general elections in 2019 similar statements, that hurt the Congress’ interests, were made by Mani Shankar Aiyar. And he too didn’t face any major disciplinary action by the party,” sources pointed out, indicating towards a wider pattern of “inaction”.

Interestingly, both Pitroda and Aiyar are considered close to the Gandhi family and have been in their service for the past several decades, with Pitroda considered a mentor of Rahul Gandhi.

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It was pointed out that this was also the reason that the Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge allowed Pitroda to “bow out” and didn’t initiate any major action against him despite repeated indiscretions.

“The punishment should fit the crime; within the party, this is being seen as a let-off with not even a wrap on the knuckles,” sources added.

The Congress needs to learn that senior leaders like Pitorda may have been useful for the party in the past, however, they are now seemingly hurting its prospects and the grand old party needs to act accordingly. There is a need to address the issue of indiscipline urgently for the Congress to regain its lost glory or else it will continue to lose its grip over political power.

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