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'Congress is indirectly helping the BJP'

By SHOBHA WARRIER
Last updated on: March 17, 2021 08:59 IST
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'Every Congressperson is disillusioned in different degrees.'

IMAGE: Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi with her son Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Photograph: PTI Photo
 

The woes of the Congress, India's oldest political party, don't seem to end.

Even after G-23, as the group of 23 senior Congressmen is called, wrote an open letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi about the need to have inner-party elections, nothing has happened.

And now, just as Kerala heads to an assembly election, one of its senior-most leaders, P C Chacko, has resigned from the party citing groupism within the state Congress unit as the reason.

Chacko, who was chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee that probed the 2G spectrum scam when the United Progressive Alliance was in power, tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier why he had to resign from the party which he served for five decades.

Have you been disillusioned with the way the Congress was functioning for a long time? Or, was the decision to quit the party taken all of a sudden?

The decision to quit was not taken all of a sudden. I have been feeling disillusioned for a long time.

For that matter, every Congressman, every Congressperson, is disillusioned in different degrees.

I don't think any well-meaning Congressman can be happy with the developments in the Congress party.

Do you know for the last two years, the party has not had a head? Rahul Gandhi resigned after the 2019 election. What was the need or necessity for the resignation, nobody understands.

The loss was looked upon as a collective responsibility and no one person could be blamed but since he was the president of the party, he took the responsibility upon him, and resigned.

The party asked him to withdraw his resignation in the interests of the party. But he did not.

The party gave him time for a natural healing process. Even after that, he refused to withdraw his resignation.

Although requests came from all over the country, Rahul Gandhi did not relent.

The Congress is the largest democratic party in the country and it is suffering every day because of this.

Then, Sonia Gandhi, who had been the Congress president for 18 years and had to resign on health grounds, had to take up the responsibility.

Everybody knows that Madam is not keeping good health. In spite of her poor health, she has been travelling and doing party activities.

Why didn't the party hold an election for president? Why was a person from the Gandhi family given the responsibility again?

That is a different issue. As the president of the party, she successfully led the party to victory in two elections.

She was the chairman of the UPA for 10 years. When she couldn't continue because of health issues, Rahul became the president of the party.

When Rahul resigned after the election loss, all of us thought it was an emotional decision and he would reconsider after some time.

Even after more than one year, he was not ready. That was when Madam took over.

Why didn't anyone ask for an election within the party?

See, the constitution of the party says that there should be elections for the Congress president, for the working committee, at the primary level, etc.

Nobody has to demand for it; these are the constitutional obligations of the Congress party.

Whenever and wherever it was bypassed, it was most unfortunate and against the democratic spirit of the Congress party. That way, I do not subscribe to the postponement of the elections.

Madam's poor health and Rahul Gandhi not taking the responsibility were doing a lot of harm to the Congress party.

A party, the only secular party in the country, that should be fighting against the Bharatiya Janata Party, was getting weakened.

In India, when the fight is between secularism and communalism, it is the duty of the Congress party to the country to fight against the BJP. But in this fight, Rahul Gandhi failed miserably.

Yes, I have had a close association with him, and I had been working with him.

But the unfortunate fact is that the Congress did not provide an alternative to the BJP.

I am not talking about just winning the elections; we did not work in the full capacity of the Congress party.

We were paralysing the state units. We were paralysing the esteem of the Congress workers. We were putting the party in cold storage.

So, in such a situation, nobody can be happy; everybody was disillusioned.

The criticism against Rahul was that he vanished during the elections...

These are all the personal sides of functioning. More than that, the Congress party is a president-oriented one and the president is the most important element of the party. And, when you do not have a president for one or two years, how can you expect this party to survive?

Because of this situation, everyone was disillusioned, and I was also disillusioned.

That was one of the reasons why I left national politics and came back to Kerala thinking there is at least a semblance of democracy here.

In a way isn't the Congress then helping the BJP in its goal to have a Congress-mukt Bharat?

It is not directly or intentionally helping the BJP, but yes, it is indirectly helping the BJP.

The attitude of the Congress and the inaction within the Congress are indirectly helping the BJP achieve its goal.

When the fight is between two parties, the failure of one party will automatically help the other one.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com

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