Jairam Ramesh is one of the sultans: Sheila Dikshit

The former Delhi chief minister hits back at Jairam Ramesh’s uncharacteristic criticism of the party. 

Kumar Anshuman

A day after senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh remarked that some of his party colleagues were behaving like “sultans”, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has hit back, saying Ramesh “should realise that he is one among the sultans”.

Ramesh was one of the senior union ministers from the Congress when the UPA was in power.

Ramesh was speaking about the present crisis in the Congress party in Kochi on Monday. “The sultanate has gone, but we behave as if we are sultans still,” he said. “I think there is a lot of goodwill for the Congress, a lot of support for the Congress but people want to see a new Congress. They don’t want to see old mantras, old slogans. We must recognise this is a big challenge. Huge challenge for us.”

Dikshit’s comment comes at a time when questions are being raised over the role of some senior Congress leaders who do not enjoy public support but have their say in decision-making.

Speaking about the Congress’ prospects, the three-time Delhi CM said, “Congress is the oldest party with longest experience of running the country. You cannot write it off.”

Dikshit, however, accepts that there are setbacks but doesn’t want to call it an “existential crisis” as Ramesh had put it. “Electoral fortunes might go against the party at times. But the people of this country, who are suffering under the Modi government, will bring us back,” Dikshit said.

Earlier, Ramesh had said that the Congress faced an electoral crisis from 1996 to 2004. However, Dikshit defended the party leadership—Sonia and Rahul—by saying that they are doing whatever is necessary for the party.

“We need both the experience of the elder as well as energy of the youth. We have a right mix of both. The people of this country have faith in Congress,” Dikshit said.

 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to Dikshit. The error is regretted. 

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