Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday expressed concern over the party’s gradual deterioration and said deep structural reforms are needed for a revival. While he made it clear that there is no rebellion within the Congress party, he told news agency ANI that there is an urgent need for the members of the party — from workers to top leadership — to understand their responsibilities.
During the interview, Azad stressed on the need to change the way workers are functioning at the moment. “Till the time, we change our way of functioning at every level, things won’t change. Leadership needs to give a programme to party workers and hold elections for posts. One should be so much indispensable that leadership asks for you in your absence,” Azad told the news agency.
Citing the recent election losses, the veteran leader said that the party’s “structure has collapsed”, and that workers and top leadership need to work together and rebuild it.
“Our party’s structure has collapsed. We need to rebuild our structure and then if any leader is elected in that structure, it will work. But saying that just by changing the leader, we’ll win Bihar, UP, MP etc. is wrong. That will happen once we change the system,” he said regarding the party’s poor show in the recently concluded Bihar elections.
Criticises 5-star culture
Azad also said the “culture of sycophancy” has become one of the main reasons for the party’s collapse, as well as the downfall of leaders. “We should stay away from this culture at all levels. Politics is a penance. Shame on those who join politics for enjoyment & money,” he said.
“Polls aren’t won by 5-star culture. Problem with leaders today is if they get a party ticket, they first book a 5-star hotel. They won’t go if there’s a rough road. Till the time 5-star culture is given up, one can’t win elections,” the senior Congress leader added.
While Azad said that the party is worried about the losses in Bihar and the bypolls, he personally feels that blaming the leaders will not help. Instead, he said the party’s workers will have to reestablish strong connection on the ground.
“I don’t blame the leadership for the loss. Our people have lost the connection on the ground. One should be in love with their party. Office bearers should understand their responsibility. Till the time, office bearers are appointed, they won’t go. But if all office bearers are elected, then they will understand their responsibility. Right now, anyone gets any post in the party,” he said.
‘Clean chit to Gandhis’
Azad also went on to say that he is giving a “clean chit” to the Gandhis due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. “I’m giving a clean chit to Gandhis due to Covid-19 pandemic as they can’t do much right now. There’s no change in our demands. They’ve agreed to most of our demands. Our leadership should hold elections if they want to become a national alternative and revive the party,” Azad said.
The 71-year-old leader, however, said quick reforms are necessary from now onwards to revitalise the party. He said the Congress has reached its lowest point in the last 72 years and it did not even have the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha during the last two terms.
Nabi’s comments come a few days after other senior leaders like P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal expressed concern over the party’s poor performance in recently held elections. P Chidamabaram, like Azad, said there is an urgent need to “strengthen our organisation at the ground level”.
A few days before Chidambaram, Sibal had expressed his dissatisfaction over the party’s performance in an interview to India Today TV.