Sidelined Youth Leader Quits Congress: More to follow? -
Sidelined Youth Leader Quits Congress: More to follow?
Posted 12 Mar 2020 05:58 PM


It’s not only former Union minister and four-term MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who was in a dilemma about his prospects in the Congress before he decided to jump ship and join the BJP. There are almost half-a-dozen Congress leaders who are caught in a similar dilemma.


Indian National Congress is a grand old party of India in which the ultimate power is in the hands of “one family”. Now, if the “head” is not taking decisions on his own and relies on a “coterie” of people, definitely it will affect everybody. As long as Congress doesn’t come out of this “Dynasty Shell” it will be very difficult for them to sustain. Already they are in the path of self-destruction and they must give opportunities to new talents and people who are capable.

Back in 2019, In a big embarrassment to Congress just ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Congress leader and a close aide of Sonia Gandhi, Tom Vadakkan, joined BJP and attacked the grand old party for questioning Balakot air strike.

Vadakkan was the Congress party member for nearly 20 years. He joined the saffron party at a time when Congress president Rahul Gandhi was in Kerala to review the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.

But it’s not just about their personal ambitions. There is also a sense of alienation among some leaders coupled with an increasing feeling that they won’t progress under former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, according to Congress leaders.

Party leaders also say there is a growing realization among many of these leaders that the Congress’ public stance on many important issues, including the government’s revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, is not in sync with public sentiment.

“There are many young leaders in the party who feel that they are not being allowed to grow politically. There is a kind of glass ceiling. And many of them have national ambitions,” said a Congress leader who did not want to be named.

A party insider said the Congress high command does not want young leaders to rise because they don’t want anyone to “outshine him (Rahul Gandhi)”.

“You are not allowed to have divergent views. There is a sense of alienation. And a growing feeling that their political career won’t progress under Rahul Gandhi,” said the insider.

Scindia Story

Jyotiraditya Scindia is likely to become a Cabinet minister in the NDA government at the Centre and his nominee will become a deputy chief minister if the BJP manages to form the government in Madhya Pradesh.

They said Scindia had been “exploring” the option of joining the BJP for the past “two months” and the Congress high command’s prevarication over his nomination to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh was only the immediate trigger. He is set to enter the Rajya Sabha as a BJP leader now.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath, whose government is now teetering on the brink of collapse due to the impending defections of at least 22-25 Congress MLAs of the Scindia camp, didn’t help matters much.

In touch with BJP

Scindia met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah Tuesday to formalise the terms and conditions of his entry into the BJP. A scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royalty, Scindia is no stranger to BJP leaders. His grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia had cut her political teeth in the Congress and spent a decade in the party before joining the Jana Sangh, the BJP’s precursor. Jyotiraditya Scindia spent 18 years in the Congress before shifting his loyalty to the BJP Tuesday. His father, Madhavrao Scindia, had started his political career in the Jana Sangh but had switched to the Congress later.

Scindia was also upset with the party’s stance on many issues. “One day, he called up a young colleague, asking how could the party criticise the government’s move to nullify Article 370? He found the party’s criticism nonsensical. Both agreed to speak out publicly then,” said a Congress functionary, concluding that Jyotiraditya Scindia quit because he saw “no hope for the party or for himself in it”.

In his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi on Monday, Scindia said, “This is the path that has been drawing itself out over the last one year.”

More To Come?

These are the 5 key young Congress leaders ‘sidelined’ like Jyotiraditya Scindia:

1. Sachin Pilot : Despite being close to Rahul Gandhi, 42-year-old Pilot has been denied bigger responsibilities in the party.

2. Milind Deora: Another young leader who is part of Rahul’s gang was former MP from South Mumbai Milind Deora. But his disillusionment with the way the party has treated him has only grown in recent past.

3. Jitin Prasada: The Congress’ Brahmin face from Uttar Pradesh, former Union minister Jitin Prasada, is another young leader who has not been given any significant responsibility.

4. Deepender Hooda: Three-term MP Deepender Hooda, who is the son of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has also remained sidelined in the party. He is another young Congress leader who is perceived to have mass support.

5. Sandeep Dikshit: Late Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit is another Congress leader who has been left with no organisational role.

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