The Shiromani Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said here today that the decision of the Congress party to push all the tired and bickering seniors into a losing battle against their wishes was a part of the larger “Rahul Gandhi plan to finish off the old guard in the Congress and replace them after the Lok Sabha poll with new faces personally loyal to him.”
In a statement from the party headquarters here,Badal called it the “Formula Rahul-2019” and likened it to the Kamraj plan adopted by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in the sixties to reign in the troublesome old guard. All the big names in the Congress then were made to resign from their respective posts in the party and the government to allow Pt. Nehru to re-constitute the party and the government according to his own wishes. “History is repeating itself, though with an unpleasant twist.”
Badal said that like every other Indian, Rahul Gandhi could see that there was no chance at all of the Congress forming a government at the center after these elections. “Rahul Gandhi is clearly preparing and planning for a post-defeat scenario,” said the SAD president.
He said that it was known by now that not a single senior leader of the Congress wanted to contest these elections as they knew the massive wave against the UPA government. “That is why people like Amarinder Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, Partap Singh Bajwa and Sunil Jakhar had publically aired their views saying that they would rather campaign for others then contest. They knew the result. But now these leaders, all of whom are on their way out, have been forced to contest to save embarrassment for Rahul’s younger squad,” said the SAD president.
Sukhbir Singh Badal further said that this was the only reason why all the Congress candidates this time were being cleared personally and directly by Rahul Gandhi, and no parliamentary board or core committee was anywhere in the picture. Even Sonia Gandhi was no longer on the scene, as can be seen from media reports and her reduced public profile.
The Deputy Chief Minister further said that Rahul Gandhi feared a possible revolt against his leadership by the old leaders “who would hold him responsible for the party’ pathetic showing in the Lok Sabha polls. He does not want to have any troublesome old guard around him at that time as these seniors can endanger his own position after the party’s rout in these elections. He wants all of them to lick dust and remain subservient to and dependent on him after their defeat,” said the SAD president.
Badal said that Rahul Formula was an afterthought following clear signals from ground zero that the Congress party was heading for a complete rout all over the country. “They had first fielded younger faces. But once it became clear that the party was heading for a rout, younger faces were immediately replaced with old leaders to save Rahul’s own blue-eyed boys from defeat and the unwilling seniors have now been pushed in to face the music,” said Mr. Badal quoting the replacement of Soni with Amarinder Singh, Ravneet Singh Bittu with Ambika Soni and possibly Vijay Inder Singla with Madam Rajidner kaur Bhathal as examples. He said that Rahul did not want Munish Tiwari also to be thrown in the poll fire and is looking for a replacement for him at Ludhiana.