New Delhi: Two days after there was a sharp exchange of views between Congress’ old guard and young turks over its defeat in the last Lok Sabha elections, senior party leaders Saturday came to the party’s defence.
From former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor to former Union minister Anand Sharma — all hailed the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.
This is because, at a virtual meeting Thursday, some young leaders had asked the Congress’ old guard “to introspect from the UPA II period” — which was led by Manmohan Singh — for the party’s humiliating defeat in the 2019 elections.
At the meeting of the Congress’ Rajya Sabha MPs convened by Sonia Gandhi, sources told The Indian Express that former Union Minister and senior leader Kapil Sibal spoke about the need for “introspection” on the Congress defeat in the elections.
“Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram said the party should reach out to people to understand their disenchantment with the Congress. It is learnt that newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Satav was more blunt — he said introspection should begin at home,” according to the Express report.
Satav, 46, is a former Youth Congress president.
“Introspect by all means…. but how did we come to 44…that should also be looked into. We were 200-plus in 2009. You are all saying this (need to introspect) now. You were all ministers then. Frankly, it should also be looked into where you failed. You have to introspect from the UPA II period,” Satav was quoted as saying by an MP in the report.
‘When unity is required, they divide’
In a tweet posted in the morning, Manish Tewari gave the example of the BJP’s ‘unity’ to contrast with the Congress’ lack of it.
“The BJP was out of power for 10 years (2004-14). Not once did they ever blame (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee or his government for their then predicaments. In @INCIndia (Congress), unfortunately, some ill-informed (leaders) would rather take swipes at Dr Manmohan Singh-led UPA government than fight the NDA/BJP. When unity is required, they divide,” the MP from Anandpur Sahib tweeted.
BJP was out of Power for 10 yrs 2004-14. Not once did they ever blame Vajpayee or his Govt for their then predicaments
In @INCIndia unfortunatly some ill -informed ‘s would rather take swipes at Dr. Manmohan Singh led UPA govt than fight NDA/BJP.
When unity reqd they divide.
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 1, 2020
Sharma, meanwhile, put out a thread of 11 tweets, saying how the UPA government “led the country with a sense of purpose and a commitment to the common man”.
UPA Government led the country with a sense of purpose and a commitment to the common man. India witnessed unprecedented Social and Economic transformation and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable Indians. (1/11)
— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) August 1, 2020
“Need to remind that India created a strong social security net through MGNREGA and Right to Food and made history by lifting tens of millions out of poverty, acknowledged by UN and the World Bank and celebrated across the world,” he wrote.
“India became the first country to quadruple its GDP in a decade and UPA left a two Trillion Dollar Economy and Foreign Exchange reserves of over 300 billion dollars. India story caught worlds attention and India became a globally favoured destination for FDI,” he wrote in another tweet.
Sharma, who is also the deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, wrote that history will honestly record the commendable contribution of former PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
“The two leaders led India to a decade of compassionate and inclusive growth which all of us are proud of,” he said.
Attacking the BJP, the former minister said the UPA government was a “victim of a grand political conspiracy and malicious disinformation campaign of the BJP”.
“Congress as a democratic party is always open to a debate on its achievements and failures. Honest introspection and analysis are always helpful and gives strength to move forward,” he wrote.
UPA’s transformative 10 years were ‘distorted’
Former IT minister Milind Deora and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor echoed Tewari’s thoughts and retweeted him, adding their perspectives.
“Well said, Manish. When demitting office in 2014, Dr Manmohan Singh said, ‘history will be kinder to me’. Could he have ever imagined that some from his own party would dismiss his years of service to the nation & seek to destroy his legacy — that, too, in his presence?” tweeted Deora.
Tharoor, meanwhile, said that there’s “plenty to learn from our defeats” and “much to be done to revive” the Congress, but not by “playing into the hands of our ideological enemies”.
I agree with @ManishTewari & @milinddeora. UPA's transformative ten years were distorted & traduced by a motivated & malicious narrative. There's plenty to learn from our defeats & much to be done to revive @INCIndia. But not by playing into the hands of our ideological enemies. https://t.co/Ui6WUlBl3F
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 1, 2020