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HomePoliticsCongress doing politics only sometimes, says Sandeep Dikshit, echoes Sanjay Jha's concerns

Congress doing politics only sometimes, says Sandeep Dikshit, echoes Sanjay Jha’s concerns

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar says he hopes leadership gives Sanjay Jha 'a patient hearing' and doesn't shut him up.

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New Delhi: The Congress appears to be an organisation that does politics “only sometimes”, senior party leader and former Member of Parliament Sandeep Dikshit has said, lending his voice to a rising chorus from several leaders who are upset about the state of inaction and leadership crisis in the principal opposition party.  

The party’s national spokesperson Sanjay Jha had earlier called the Congress “fossilised”, drawing a quick official rebuttal from another spokesman, Ajay Maken, but there are many Congress leaders who endorse Jha’s views.    

“The senior leaders seem to have forgotten that we are a political party. Right now, we appear as an organisation that does politics only sometimes,” Dikshit told ThePrint.They seem to be in a state of inaction. And we cannot forgive them for that.” 

The former MP from East Delhi said the Congress party doesn’t seem to be interested in organisational politics. “We cannot just spring into action at the time of elections. We need a leadership that would give the party some direction, energise the cadres and get things going,” Dikshit added.

He was reacting to comments made by Jha.  

Like Dikshit, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar echoed the sentiments and concerns raised by Jha, who had also written a column last week, in which he said the Congress “demonstrated extraordinary lassitude, and its lackadaisical attitude”. 

Also read: Rahul Gandhi had another chance to look different from Modi. Comeback shows same old problems

Hope Jha is given a patient hearing: Aiyar

Aiyar, former MP and Union Minister, said he wishes Jha is given a patient hearing by the party leadership.

“I would hope that either someone speaks to him and discovers why he feels the way he does, or at any rate gives a patient hearing to what his agonised voice is saying,” Aiyar told ThePrint. 

“If rectification is felt to be necessary, then it should be undertaken in the larger interest of the party, rather than an attempt made to simply ignore Sanjay Jha or shut him up,” he added. 

Aiyar has often found himself at the centre of multiple controversies, owing to his remarks in the past. 

In 2014, he had referred to Narendra Modi as a ‘chaiwala’ ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections — which the BJP subsequently capitalised on during its election campaign. Then in 2017, he took a potshot at PM Modi before the Gujarat elections, referring to him as “neech aadmi”. This had invited the ire of even the then Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, following which Aiyar was suspended from the party and only reinstated after nine months, in August 2018.

Aiyar, however, said he continues to find himself sidelined by the party.

“I have been so long neglected by the Congress for the last several years… That I am simply insufficiently familiar with the party to be able to comment meaningfully (on the present state),” Aiyar said. 

“I used to think I have been driven to the margins by the party, but now I realise I have actually been pushed well beyond the margins,” he added.

Also read: Delhi govt, others reach out to Covid-positive journalist after Rahul Gandhi tweets video

The Congress’ leadership troubles 

The Congress has been grappling with leadership issues since former president Rahul Gandhi officially submitted his resignation in July last year. He had offered to quit as the party president in May itself, holding himself responsible for the party’s massive loss in the Lok Sabha elections.

Subsequently, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) had held a meeting in August, in which it was decided that Sonia Gandhi will be the interim president of the party. 

However nearly a year since then, the party still doesn’t have a president.

The discontent over the “leadership vacuum” isn’t limited to a few members.

Senior leader Salman Khurshid said he understands how some might find the mechanisms “inadequate”.

“There are internal mechanisms in the Congress party that have worked really well for decades, but I can understand how some who haven’t grown up in the mill of politics, but consciously joined politics later on may feel the mechanisms are inadequate,” Khurshid told ThePrint. 

“However, I think there is an obligation to debate this inside the party to vigorously push (the dissatisfaction) within the party using whatever mechanism is available,” he added.

Aiyar, Dikshit defend Jha

Following Jha’s comments, Congress leader and spokesperson Maken had slammed Jha and in a press conference and said“I don’t think there is any dearth of internal mechanisms in the party.” 

But Aiyar defended Jha.  

“He (Jha) has been given enormous importance by the party and therefore if he feels that it is necessary to express himself (this way), I am sure he has done it after a great deal of thought and a great deal of hesitation,” Aiyar said. 

“I am sure he said those things taking the bit between his teeth and really risking it all,” Aiyar added.  

Dikshit said that there are  “10-15 people at the top” in the party, who are failing to lead it.

“They are using the party as a vehicle for personal interest, not the interest of the nation,” Dikshit said.  

Also read: ‘Won’t work for Congress in bits and pieces’: Prashant Kishor says no for 2022 Punjab polls


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  1. after so much of neglect by congress leadership, mr aiyer is still with the party shows he is loyal to the psrty and at the same time he has no self respect.

  2. This situation is very unlikely to change unless and until Rahul opens his eyes and ears and sheds his misguided belief that his desperate anxiety to occupy Modi’s chair next week, if possible, can ONLY be achieved by constantly and pointlessly ridiculing and mocking Modi, and denigrating his office. The fact is, now any ‘non Nehru family’ leader in Congress can survive only by being in Rahul’s good books. Thus, an army of ‘The Family’ sycophants, rather than party workers, is taking root.

  3. The best bet for NDA to win in 2024 is to have Shri Rahul “webinar” Gandhi and Smt Priyanka “twitter” Vadra continue to lead Congress in the way it is doing currently.

  4. Does anyone take the Congress seriously? Does Congress take itself seriously?
    The Congress exists only for 1 reason – it’s a proxy for Pakistan, China, naxals, militant Islamists and other powers inimical to India.
    Even the common man has become aware of this by now – and this is reinforced every time Raul Vinci Gandhi appears on TV – a hollow and shallow middle-aged man with the intellect of a camel. A good looking guy – but dumb as a donkey; and that’s being polite.

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