November 7 was a big day for the Congress when the Congress Working Committee (CWC) unanimously recommended a change of guard, voicing the need for heir apparent and vice-president Rahul Gandhi to steer the party in future. The move seems to be aimed at replacing the growing sense of drift and unease in the average Congress supporter and worker with a sense of direction before the forthcoming assembly elections. Similar attempts had been made—and more than once—but every time the change seemed to be around the corner, the internal struggles of the party played out in ways that preempted it.
This time, the matter was not even placed on the agenda of the CWC meeting. And yet everything appears to have been pre-planned. Obviously, care had been taken to keep it secret until the last minute. A few senior leaders might have had an inkling of what was to come, but they had kept quiet, helping the developments unfold in maximum accord with the script. Party president Sonia Gandhi was said to be unwell and couldn’t attend the meeting. Her chair was removed later and Gandhi junior presided over the meeting.