The recent assertion by Congress chief ministers — Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Amarinder Singh — on national issues is uncharacteristic and rare for a party that believes in living under the shadow of the ‘high command’. The aberrative nature of their new stance reflects the unprecedented crisis in the party and the vacuum that a weak, unplanned, capricious and often disinterested top leadership has left.
From the ‘love jihad’ cry to the contentious new farm laws, these Congress chief ministers are now at the forefront, taking on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on issues that are more national in their repercussions. With the national faces of the party — Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi — as whimsical and non-accountable as ever, a rare situation has arisen in the very top-controlled Congress — its regional leaders are making themselves heard. The always ‘let the Gandhis speak first’ state leaderships are now coming out of the top brass’ shadow.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel have both held forth on the issue of ‘love jihad’, in a timely and much-needed assertion against a worldview espoused by the BJP-VHP-RSS ecosystem.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, meanwhile, has fought tooth and nail against the Narendra Modi government’s new farm laws. He is also asserting himself in not allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to enter his state without his permission.