Senior Congress leaders upset with Rahul Baba’s functioning style

Gandhi has his own set of advisors, mainly from non-political backdrop, who use technology extensively.

Previous week when Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi‘s focus on the long-standing future of the party might come in the way of dealing with immediate concerns, for example winning polls; it rang a bell with many in the party. Although the Congress and its senior ministers spent the next two days rubbishing Ramesh’s frank statement on Gandhi’s plan, the nervousness inside the Congress over its VP’s functioning style and main concerns is emerging in the open.

Indeed, many party members say Gandhi’s thoughts have been obvious for the moment to those who have intermingled with him. Sources say, every time there are in-house conversations… Rahul ji says he wants Congress to return to its old magnificence of single-party rule. But they are apparently concerned about the approaching 2014 elections.

Enduring vision is not the lone change the 128-year-old party has to deal with. In the last ten months, Gandhi has entirely transformed the in-house functioning of the ruling party, bringing in factors that are familiar in the corporate sector but unfamiliar in political units.

Gandhi has brought in such innovations as periodical reassesses and targets for state organisations, questionnaires for senior leaders asking them to list their actions and an application procedure for candidate selection. But above the procedures, it is his working approach that is displeasing some seniors. Gandhi has his own set of advisors, mainly from non-political backdrop, who use technology extensively.

Furthermore, Gandhi mostly is reliant on his own team and not the seniors his mother depended upon. While, members of the old batch hold fort as general secretary responsible of states but those whom he listens to are not the usual political leaders but who party insiders deem ‘jholawallahs’.

Reportedly, a senior leader narrated an instance where three senior Congress ministers were kept waiting by Gandhi who was busy talking about politics with a small functionary of a former-UPA ally. Although, the ministers had a prior arrangement with the Gandhi scion. After making the ministers wait for more than an hour, his office updated them that he had another appointment and the meeting would have to be postponed for later that day.

Though these are little issues but signify that things are changing fast in the party. The unhappy veterans worry that the well-known Congress may be losing significance.

While crucial decisions, including giving of contracts to ad agencies for the party’s 2014 pitch, and surveys is still performed from war room, insiders say the strategising is done at Gandhi’s residence-com-office.

Reportedly, there have been several instances where the research has been sent to his office before an election rally but he hasn’t used these inputs and he leaves even before seeing those inputs. Occasionally when contradictory inputs from his team and the war room have been given to him, the Gandhi scion has questioned the latter and even become annoyed. Congress leaders distinct his working manner with that of his mother. They say, she considered taking everybody’s viewpoints on the team and then taking her decision.

Attributing the difference to Rahul’s fewer years in politics, veteran leaders says Sonia Gandhi listen to everyone out there. This gives a feeling to everybody that she is a just person, who would take an intelligent decision. This is definitely the main grounds why she has been able to hold an alliance together. But this is not the case with Rahul. He is usually not keen to take an outside opinion.

Well this takes place in organisations as well. Whoever takes charge the reins of an organisation comes with their own set of people and that is precisely what is happening in Congress. When Rahul’s father, Rajiv Gandhi, took charge, he depended on technology and his team of comparatively newbies in politics. Even his mother Sonia Gandhi has been reliant on some people and so is Rahul.

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