Before Assembly elections, Congress in disarray; party battling with revolts, desertions

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi with Rahul
Just two months after it suffered humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress is facing serious infighting in at least four of the few States where it is in power. Open dissension has erupted among the party cadre in poll bound Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam and West Bengal. The party is in power in 11 States.

For the Congress, which has not yet recovered from the shock of its worst ever defeat in recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, where party restricted to 44 from 206 in last election, these developments have come as a further shock.

Revolt erupted in Congress' backyard in Maharashtra
For the second time in two months, rebel Congress leader and Maharashtra Industry Minister Narayan Rane submitted his resignation on Monday, accusing Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan of slow decision-making and lack of control over administration. He said he does not want to be a partner in defeat in upcoming Assembly elections. Rane said, "There is no control over administration. The slow administration affects people's work and dissatisfaction was manifest in Lok Sabha polls."

Rane also said when he quit Shiva Sena to join Congress in 2005, he was promised Chief Ministerial post within six months but the promise was never kept in the nine years.

Earlier, the sulking leader had resigned in May following the defeat of his son and sitting MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat, but it was not accepted. Blaming the party's poor performance under Chavan's leadership, Rane and other State Congress leaders had demanded his removal but the high command has maintained that there will be no change of guard in the State.

Congress leadership grappling with massive rebellion in Assam
In Assam, the revolt is led by senior Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. After weeks of infighting within the State unit, he put down his papers on Monday. Sarma who has been demanding Gogoi's removal, claims support of 38 MLAs. His decision came less than 24 hours after the Central leadership made it clear that there is no plan to remove Gogoi.

Dissidence result of personal ambitions of State leaders?

Sarma's resignation could further lead to cracks in the party. "I had been telling the party high command that the Congress would not win more than four seats under Gogoi's leadership in LS poll and we won only three. Our tally will come down to a single digit in the next Assembly elections if he (Gogoi) continues to be the CM,"Sarma was quoted as saying in reports.

Situation is not good in Haryana too
In Haryana, Rajya Sabha member and senior leader Bripendra Singh has come out against the Hooda Government and demanded a change of leadership.

Addressing a rally in Panchkula, he said it is time to infuse new blood in the party leadership.

Three Congress MLAs joined TMC in West Begal
The party suffered a severe jolt in West Bengal too as three of its MLAs joined Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. The three leaders include Asit Mal, the chief whip of the Congress Legislature Party, Umapada Bauri and Ghulam Rabanni.

Mal has hinted that the party could see more defection in future. He said they are switching over for the benefit of the State. He said, "It is for the development of the State, which we believe can be done by Mamata Di only."

Meanwhile, in an attempt to put a brave face amid the ongoing dissidence, party leadership is maintaning that the revolts are result of personal ambitions of State leaders and that party is not going to bow down to their demands. Whatever the reasons may be, the party leadership should not ignore the 'mini-exodus' in different States. It immediately needs to find a solution to deal with the ongoing crisis otherwise it could end up with Lok Sabha poll disaster in upcoming Assembly elections too.

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