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Current Congress brass sees advice as rebellion: Ghulam Nabi Azad

The Times of India logo The Times of India 06-12-2021
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NEW DELHI: The present generation of Congress is not open to suggestions, veteran Congress leader and member of the G-23 faction Ghulam Nabi Azad has said, lamenting that advice, even when it came from Congress veterans, is “seen as a crime or rebellion”.

One of the G-23 members who had recommended an organisational rehaul in Congress, Azad’s comments, in an interview to News18 channel, were directed at the “current generation” of leadership in Congress – Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra— rather than interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, with who he said he enjoys good relations.

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The charge of intolerance against Gandhi siblings is sure to annoy the leadership, which was already engaged in pushing back against TMC chief' Mamata Banerjee’s suggestion that Rahul Gandhi, abroad often, cannot claim to be the natural leader of an anti-BJP front.

Azad left little doubt that his problem is only with the younger leadership whose working style, he suggested, was at odds with what was the practice under former PM, Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv.

“When Rajiv ji joined politics, Indira Gandhi called both of us and told Rajiv ji that Ghulam Nabi can even say no to me, but that NO doesn’t mean disobeying or disrespect, that’s for the good of the party. Today, no one is ready to listen to that no. For saying ‘no’, you become nobody today,” he said.

READ ALSO: Not launching party but cannot predict future, says Ghulam Nabi Azad

The Congress veteran who said he is a “staunch Congressi” also said it hurts him (and other leaders) when their advice is not heeded.

“We give suggestions for the overall improvement of the party. None of us wants any posts in the party. All we want is that the performance of the party should improve…This is a time when the ruling party is strong and the opposition is weak. A weak opposition benefits the ruling party,” Azad said.

In the headlines for his recent comments about Congress not likely to win 300 seats, Azad said the only time the party won a large mandate such as that was when Indira Gandhi helmed the party, or under the stewardship of Narasimha Rao. “It is for everyone to see,” he said, about the Congress’ subsequent decline.

The Congress veteran also expressed concerns over the lack of “time limit” for holding organisational elections in recent years, saying elections which were once held every year, then extended to two and five years, and are now pushed forward endlessly.

READ ALSO: Can't see Congress winning 300 seats in 2024 LS polls: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Despite his apparent unhappiness with the state of things, in another interview to a news channel, Azad dismissed speculations about the possibility of him launching a new political outfit. “I am a staunch Congressi… The party needs to introspect, work together, devise strategies and pull itself up and be a force to reckon with,” he said.

However, Azad added, “No one can say what will happen next in politics, like no one knows when he will die….In politics, no one can predict what will happen next, but I have no intention to form a party.''

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