03 December, 2020

The Birth Of A Bete Noire

An alternate power structure is being built around Jitendra Prasada, Kesri's number two

The Birth Of A Bete Noire

SITARAM Kesri's hour of glory was his election as Congress president in June after snuffing out challengers Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot. For a man who had always shied away from election, the victory was particularly sweet. It also served another purpose: the marginalisation of P.V. Narasimha Rao, who was singularly responsible for anointing Kesri as provisional president in September.

Ironically, a Rao man—his ex-political secretary Jitendra Prasada—is now daring Kesri. And the Congress boss can barely ignore the party vice-president and an elected member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The Kesri-Prasada honeymoon was rather brief. After a two-and-a-half month tactical courtship that began with Prasada ditching his long-time friend Sharad Pawar to propose and support Kesri at the party presidential elections, Prasada floated a parallel panel for the CWC election at the recent All India Congress Committee (AICC) plenary in Calcutta which included, among others, Pawar and Ghulam Nabi Azad, much to Kesri's chagrin.




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