Senior Speaker of Congress Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said there was no change in his demands for holding internal elections in the party, ANI reported. Azad said things in the party would not change until functioning changed at every level.
Azad is among the leaders of Congress who has called for changes in the organization. Demand has risen over the past few weeks with some people criticizing top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over the poor performance of Congress in recent Bihar Assembly polls and primaries.
I’m giving a couple pure Gandhis because of [the] Covid-19 pandemic as it can not do much now, he said. We have not withdrawn from our four demands … Our leadership must hold elections if it wants to become a national alternative and revive the party. He added that the party leadership has agreed to some of the demands made by opposing leaders. The demands included the election of a full-time president as well as members of the Congressional Working Committee.
The leadership should give a program to the party workers and hold elections for the posts, he told the news agency. Man must be so necessary that leadership seeks you in his absence.
The former prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir added that the party structure had collapsed. We need to rebuild our structure and then if any leader is elected in that structure, it will work, Azad said. But saying that just by changing the leader, you win well Bihar, UP [Uttar Pradesh], Deputet [Madhya Pradesh] and others, is wrong.
He criticized five-star culture in the party, saying Congress would not be able to win any polls until it abolished it. The Congress leader noted that the leaders, after receiving a party ticket, booked a five-star hotel and even refused to travel on rough roads. He added that the culture of sycophanacy is the reason behind the fall of the party and its leaders.
The Congress leader also clarified that his stance was not i rebellion but a demand for reform. He explained that rebellion is when there are calls to replace someone, adding that there was no candidate for the post of party president.
Azad is among a handful of party leaders seeking changes in the party. Recently, party leader Kapil Sibal had also criticized the party for its poor performance in the recently concluded elections in Bihar, where the party gathered only 19 of the 70 seats it had contested. Sibal had blamed the leadership for not recognizing the issues that concerned the party and said people do not consider Congress an alternative.
In August, at least 23 party leaders, including Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Prithviraj Chavan and Milind Deora, had written to Sonia Gandhi, demanding a complete transformation of the organization. Tharoor had also called for elections to be held to appoint the party chief. Azad had also called for internal elections.
Congress is not an effective opposition: Kapil Sibal
On Sunday, Sibal continued his tyranny against Congress, claiming the party was no longer a effective opposition, reported Times of India. How can a party function without a leader for a year and a half [since Rahul Gandhi quit from the party chief post]… Congressional workers do not know where to go, he said.
He raised the poll results and said the party lost all seats in Gujarat and 65% of the vote went to the Bharatiya Janata Party due to vacancies left by Congress. In the MP, all 28 seats fell vacant due to congressional deserters, but Congress won only eight seats, he said. Where there is a one-on-one battle with BJP, we are not an effective alternative. There must be something wrong. We need to do something about it, he said.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of Congress for not holding any discussion on the letter written by the 23 party leaders.
No leadership crisis in Congress: Salman Khurshid
Amid disagreement against the party by senior leaders, Congress veteran Salman Khurshid said there was no leadership crisis in the party, according to the PTI. He added that he had comprehensive support for party chief Sonia and leader Rahul Gandhi and was visible to anyone who is not blind.
Leadership listens to me, I am given a chance, they [those criticising in the media] they have been given a chance, where does this come from that the leadership is not listening to, Khurshid told the news agency.
He said statements by some party leaders criticizing the leadership are harmful as there are plenty of forums in Congress to address their grievances.
In a statement by former Finance Minister P Chidambarams on poor election performance, Khurshid said he could not disagree with what they had said, but asked why opposition leaders had to go to the media to convey their views.
The analysis is done all the time, there is no quarrel about the analysis, he said. Will be. The leadership, of which all these people are a part, will look appropriately at what may have gone wrong, how we could have improved, and this will happen in the normal course, we do not need to talk about it in public .
He asked those who express concern about Sonia Gandhi who was the interim chief for more than a year deciding that one year is too long for the post. Khurshid asserted that there must be a good reason why the election of a new president was taking time.
Khurshid, a permanent guest on the Congressional Working Committee, added that the election committee was working on polls to elect the president but was taking time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Why are we so worried that we have lost power and therefore have to return to power for weeks or months or years, etc., Khurshid asked. If it does not happen for a while, we will continue to work. Politics is about the passion for a cause, politics is not about a pre-qualification for power. We must pursue our cause and we will pursue our cause.