After Alva, Cong axes Makwana for indiscipline

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 15 2008, 04:38am hrs
In a loud and clear message that indiscipline in the party would not be tolerated, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday cracked the whip on another senior leader Yogendra Makwana, a day after she stripped senior leader Margaret Alva from all top party posts.

The move, although expected given that Makwana had been taking his chances for some time now, seems to have been calculated to send a tough signal in the party ahead of the assembly and Lok Sabha polls, when party leaders attempt to blackmail the leadership while seeking tickets for themselves or their close ones. During the Karnataka assembly elections earlier this year, several senior leaders including CK Jaffer Sharief as well as Margaret Alva had virtually held the leadership to ransom while attempting to elicit tickets for their kin.

In the current candidate selection process for assembly polls in six states too, the party leadership has had to face undue pressure from aspirants. The Rajasthan Jat leader Parasram Maderna, for instance, virtually forced Sonia to invite him for discussions after he wrote a letter to her making clear his annoyance with chief minister Ashok Gehlot. For Gandhi, the manner in which she has resorted to strong action underscores the undisputed hold that she now has over the party. Party circles concede that she might not have been able to take such a step a few years earlier.

Party circles on Thursday, in fact, maintained that the move to make errant leaders either fall in line or suffer the consequences would not stop at Makwana and that others like Narayan Rane may also face the stick. Makwana has been publicly criticising the policies and functioning of the party for quite a long time amounting to gross indiscipline," AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.

"Party has taken a serious view of his conduct and consequently the Congress president has relieved him from the chairmanship of the SC department of the AICC with immediate effect," he added.