At a time when Congress appears to be going through a churn, Lok Sabha member and previous Union Minister Manish Tewari, in an unique interview with The Hindu, discuss internal rift in the Congress, the need to have ideological clearness to take on the BJP and hold elections to select a full-time celebration president if the Gandhis are not inclined. Modified excerpts:
The Congress remains in chaos. Jyotiraditya Scindia’s departure and Sachin Pilot’s disobedience provides a sense that people near Rahul Gandhi are being marginalised in the celebration after he stepped down as celebration president.
Mr. Scindia and Mr. Pilot were “princelings” of the party. They inherited their dads’ particular Lok Sabha seats after their terrible death. They never ever went through the grind of the NSUI or IYC. Theirs was not to spread mats at public meetings, paint mottos on the walls, get knifed in student politics, or lathi charged by the cops. Be it Priyanka Chaturvedi, Ajoy Kumar, Pradyot Manikya and lots of others like them, they never ever had any ideological convictions or feelings connected to the party. For them, it was but a lorry to catapult them into organisational or governmental positions. When they believed that this truck had outlasted its utility, they ditched it for the next bus readily available. I have constantly thought that “imports from outdoors” can be made MPs, MLAs, even Ministers, however need to not be provided organisational positions.
It nearly appears like a full-scale war with numerous of you– from Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Shashi Tharoor to Milind Deora– attacking Rajeev Satav for questioning the UPA. Again, he is seen to be close to Mr. Gandhi.
No, it’s not at a full-blown war. Some colleagues seem to have actually purchased into the BJP’s narrative as if there was huge malfeasance in the UPA government. This is just incorrect. Those of us who worked in the federal government are trying to set the record straight. Those who labour under those misconceptions were too focused on internal organisational processes at that point in time to bring the message of the ‘good work’ of the UPA effectively to the individuals.
Mr. Satav blamed the UPA II government for the celebration’s issues and you hit back by questioning the 2019 defeat. Isn’t this a clear divide?
As somebody who safeguarded the UPA I and II with all the conviction at my command from 2008 to 2014, consisting of losing my health in the process, it gets my goat when some ill-informed individuals do not get the apparent. What the UPA did in regards to the RTI, the MNREGA, the Mid-day Meal Scheme, Food Security Act etc. was really transformative. Even Nirmala Sitharaman was compelled to acknowledge in her Budget plan speech that 271 million individuals were raised out of poverty during the UPA years. Why did the UPA then fail at the hustings? Mostly due to the fact that it ended up being the victim of a deep-rooted conspiracy orchestrated by some telecom czars competently fronted by the former C&AG and a “particular criminal examination” whose trajectory had the potential to hurt really deeply established ‘institutional’ interests had it gone to a rational conclusion. The merging of these two shards caught the UPA in its cross hairs.
If you rewind back to the forces backing India Versus Corruption, the context of the above would become clear. The UPA stopped working to handle this twin attack in spite of an incredible success in2009 If there was impropriety, why has not even a subordinate court throughout the country discovered anything versus the UPA on any count?
The factor I asked about the 2019 Lok Sabha election is that a few of your colleagues had privately questioned the strategy to concentrate on the Rafale offer as a project plank.
The technique was appropriate however more diligence was required. In the lead-up to the 2019 election, we were successful in raising many ‘important’ concerns on process, procedure and rates, however the cigarette smoking gun with regard to budgeting impropriety might not be decisively clinched in public consciousness. It was clear that things with regard to the “Rafale procurement” were not above board however enough public information had just not emerged by then. Mr. Gandhi was area on in putting it front and centre but he was handicapped by the lack of an organized, sustained and structured statutory or media examination, either in France or India. The last word on the Rafale has not yet been said.
Mr. Gandhi had actually grumbled about combating a ‘lonely fight’ against the Modi federal government and not many in your celebration take on the federal government. Your thoughts?
Some of us, specifically the representatives, battle the BJP every day. I have been personally doing so all my adult life considering that1981 Others in the senior leadership have actually been knotted in false cases. Even their households have been savaged by the instrumentalities of the state. If Mr. Gandhi still feels that more needs to be done, I am sure every “ideologically driven” Congressperson would determine up to the obstacle, notwithstanding the expense to him or his household. Keep in mind, you are battling individuals whose scruples exist in their absence.
As Sonia Gandhi completes a year as interim president, some individuals have actually requested for Mr. Gandhi to return. Is it not possible for the Congress to choose someone outside the Gandhi household?
The INC rank and file have a special place in their hearts and minds for the Nehru-Gandhi family. From 1991-1998 no Nehru-Gandhi was in the celebration. For the past 21 years no Nehru– Gandhi has been a part of any government either in the Centre or the State. Ms. Sonia Gandhi led us with empathy and fairness for 19 long years. Under her leadership, we formed two governments. We all elected Mr. Gandhi for 5 years in December 2017 because we believed his leadership. Ironically, no one asked him to step down in2019 The reality that he chose to shows that he has a sense of righteousness that is both unusual and considerable.
In your opinion, what will it take to revive the celebration?
A full-time president chosen by the All India Congress Committee in terms of Article 18 (h) of the Constitution. The options are: (a) Rahul Gandhi could withdraw his resignation. (b) If he hesitates for whatever reasons then Ms. Sonia Gandhi must be encouraged to continue, notwithstanding her recognized disinclination for the job. (c) If the 2 are non-sequitur then elections need to be held to the Presidency. The elected positions in the CWC must be filled through elections, the Congress Parliamentary Board must be restored, AICC sessions like in the past need to be held bi-annually and the procedure of internal elections ought to be externally supervised like the IYC.
Nevertheless, most importantly ideological and strategic clarity is necessary going forward. How to weave aspirational economics of the millennials and social equity into a sound political narrative; redefine and reapply secularism at a specialist’s level into a strict doctrine separating Church and the State and lastly craft our unique meaning of nationalism illustration on our management of the liberation struggle and not simply as a reverse of the BJP. We must successfully combat against NDA/BJP State by State and win.