Congress President: Full game of party and power politics, see the election of Congress President not before today
Sonia Gandhi Vs Jitendra Prasad
Sonia Gandhi was sure to win the battle for the post of Congress President in 2000 and most of the party leaders felt that her election would be unopposed. However, on the last day of nomination, Congress leader Jitendra Prasad pitched against Sonia Gandhi. There was a lot of pressure on Jitendra Prasad to withdraw his name but he did not budge. The election was held and he lost badly. While Jitendra Prasad got only 67 votes, Sonia Gandhi got more than 7,400 votes. After this election, the hold of the Gandhi family on the party became stronger.
Sitaram Kesari Vs Sharad Pawar Vs Rajesh Pilot
Elections for the post of Congress President were held in 1997 after Narasimha Rao stepped down as the President. Sitaram Kesari contested the election for the Congress President, at that time many people were also surprised by his name. Sitaram Kesari was challenged by Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot. Two leaders came forward to challenge Kesari, while many stood behind him. At one time those who were behind in support of Narasimha Rao also stood behind Sitaram Kesari. Sitaram Kesari secured over 6,000 votes as against Pawar’s 889 and Pilot’s 354. Pawar defended his stand by contesting against the ‘official panel’ and won a CWC berth in the upcoming Kolkata AICC meeting. Kesari was sacked a few months later.
Subhas Chandra Bose Vs P. Sitaramayya
When Bose sought his second presidential term at the AICC session in 1939, the growing gap between him and Mahatma Gandhi on ideological and organizational perspectives was evident. A group of senior leaders urged Bose not to contest the election, but Subhas Chandra Bose did not agree. At that time Maulana Azad withdrew from the election and Sitaramayya was brought in to challenge Gandhi as the candidate. Bose won and Sitaramayya lost. Mahatma Gandhi described Sitaramayya’s defeat as his defeat. Prominent members of the CWC, including Sardar Patel, resigned, pressure on Bose to step down as the chairman.
Purushottam Das Tandon vs JB Kriplani
For the first time after independence, the election for the post of Congress President was held in 1950 and at that time there was a contest between Purushottam Das Tandon and Acharya Kriplani. The election was widely seen as a battle of Sardar Patel vs Jawaharlal Nehru. Surprisingly, Tandon, considered close to Sardar Patel, won the election against a candidate of the choice of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru strongly opposed Tandon’s candidature. Nehru refused to back down and even threatened to leave the CWC. Within a few months, Patel’s death and changing equations forced Tandon to step down, with PM Nehru becoming the Congress President.
Nehru Vs Kripalani
Interestingly, Kriplani, whom Nehru backed against Tandon, was marginalized as Congress president on the question of party-government relations with the then PM Nehru. When Kriplani asserted the organizational supremacy of the Congress over the party-led government, PM Nehru refused, citing the independence of the executive and its accountability to Parliament. In response, Kriplani stepped down in protest.
indira gandhi vs rest
After the defeat of the Congress in 1977, protests and rebellion broke out within the party. Many leaders created a ruckus against Indira Gandhi. At the AICC in New Delhi in 1977, Gandhi proposed Brahmananda Reddy as the party chief and many of his rivals agreed. Reddy won but the rebellion did not stop.