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Misplaced loyalties

battle for varanasi

THE Congress boasts that it is a 125 -year-old party. But, ironically, the great old party could not find a leader of stature who could contest against Narendra Modi in Varanasi. In fact, the party dilly-dallied on deciding on the candidate against Modi for a long time. Though Digvijaya Singh initially put his hat in the ring, he did that with a rider—he said he was ready to fight from Varanasi if the party decided on him. Even Anand Sharma, Minister for Commerce and Industry, who has never ever won even a municipality election, said that he was ready to fight against Modi if the party chose him. When the party still remained undecided, Digvijaya recommended the name of Ajai Rai, his ‘protégé’, to fight against Modi. Rai was earlier an MLA with the BJP. He later moved to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and then to the Congress in 2012. Currently an MLA from Varanasi, Rai was inducted into the Congress at the behest of Digvijaya. But the fact remains that, though Rai is a strong candidate, in stature he is nowhere close to Modi. Though there were many strong leaders in the party, the paradox is that some of them are more loyal to the biggest business house of India and not to Rahul Gandhi or the Congress. In such a scenario, how can Digvijaya or Sharma fight against Modi when all the three are perceived to be close to the same business house? Rahul is aware of this too, but he can’t do a thing.

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