Puan Maharani vs. Ganjar Pranowo, PDIP Secgen instructs cadres to be solid in the face of internal rift

House Speaker Puan Maharani and Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO. – Speaker of the House Puan Maharani is currently at loggerheads with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. In the eyes of the public, it appears that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is in turmoil. This is allegedly related to the competition between the two cadres in securing the candidacy for the 2024 Presidential Election. 

The sign of friction within the “Bull” party was for all to see when Ganjar Pranowo was not included in the invitation to the May 22 cadre briefing in Semarang to strengthen party’s solidity heading into the 2024 General Election. In fact, Ganjar as the Governor of Central Java should be the host. 

The briefing was delivered by Puan who is head of PDIP central executive board. One of the statements made by Puan in during the event also caught attention. At that time, she said that a leader should be present on the ground, not on social media. 

Following this statement, many presumed that it was Ganjar that she referred to. The reason being, as a governor, he is known for his love for cycling and a very active social media user. Ganjar admits that he has been actively using social media to connect with the public since becoming a member of the House of Representatives. He served in the PDI-P faction of the House from 2004 to 2013. 

At the time of the cadre briefing, Ganjar was actually in Jakarta. He cycled in Jakarta on Sunday. And the day before the briefing that was held on Saturday, he met up with the PDIP Chair Megawati Soekarnoputri for the purpose of silaturahmi (a local tradition of strengthening communal bonds). 

In response to the turmoil within the party, the head of PDI-P Central Java regional executive board Bambang Wuryanto openly called out Ganjar for being overly ambitious in this pursuit of the 2024 Presidential Election nomination, which he said was at odds with the party norms. Bambang said this kind of attitude is not welcomed. “Wis kemajon ([he] has gone too far), yen kowe smart, ojo keminter (if you are smart, don’t be conceited),” said Bambang on Sunday, May 23. Bambang said he had reminded Ganjar several times because he was seen as maneuvering to become a presidential candidate for 2024. 

He said that Ganjar’s current electability level could change over time. He even cited the 2013 Central Java Regional Election, in which Ganjar was nominated for the governorship. At that time, Ganjar’s electability was very low. 

However, Bambang said, Ganjar eventually won thanks to the support of Puan Maharani. “At that time, if I’m not mistaken, Pak Ganjar’s electability was only three percent. And I apologize that I have to explain this, but the field commander who led the effort to win the Central Java regional election at that time was Puan Maharani,” Bambang said at the Parliament complex, Tuesday (25 / 5/2021). 

Bambang revealed that Puan herself wanted to personally be involved in helping Ganjar win the governorship. “During a central executive board meeting discussing the Central Java election, Puan conveyed her wish directly to PDI-P chair Megawati Soekarnoputri.” 

“It was because of Puan that Ganjar became the Governor of Central Java.” 

Ganjar Pranowo admitted that he was not invited to the event. “I wasn’t invited. As a party cadre, of course I will come if I was invited,” said Ganjar. 

Ganjar does have high electability in the latest surveys on potential presidential candidate for 2024. Ganjar often ranked on top along with Gerindra Party Chairman Prabowo Subianto, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, and West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil. 

Executive Director of Parameter Politik Indonesia Adi Prayitno said that the internal rift could affect Ganjar’s chance in the 2024 presidential election. “If the political situations do not change, it is highly likely that the door to presidential candidacy through PDI-P will be shut to Ganjar Pranowo,” said Adi. 

Meanwhile, PDI-P Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto stressed that the decision for the 2024 presidential and vice-presidential candidacy remains the prerogative of Megawati Soekarnoputri, according to the party’s fifth Congress. 

Therefore, he urged all party cadres to be solid. “Party consolidation also concerns aspects of ideology, politics, programs, cadres, and resources. Consolidate the national ideology so that Indonesia can be stronger with Pancasila as the philosophy of life, so that the future president will not be burdened by this problem,” said Hasto in an official statement, Monday (24/5/2021).

“The consolidation of the three pillars must take place starting from regional heads, deputy regional heads and legislative heads. We must fight together in the spirit of mutual cooperation for the people. 

All cadres must be proactive,” he added. 

Hasto also urged PDI-P cadres to close ranks. He claims that many parties have started the political maneuvering for 2024. “Don’t give anyone outside the party the opportunity to divide the Party,” said Hasto. “Continue to work with the grassroot so that when the political momentum arrives for Ibu Megawati to make decisions, all Party cadres have been rooted in the spirit of unity for the glory of Indonesia. (des)