Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily alleged on Wednesday that the then Union Minister Jairam Ramesh was among those responsible for 'policy paralysis' during the United Progressive Alliance-2 government as he hit out at him over his controversial remarks on the prime minister.
The former Union minister also slammed Shashi Tharoor for his statement that praising the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doing the right things would lend credibility to the opposition's criticism of him.
Terming the statements as 'most unfortunate', he called for appropriate disciplinary action against the two leaders by the Congress leadership.
"He (Ramesh) is responsible for policy paralysis of our Government (UPA-2) and he is also responsible for compromising the principles of governance many a time", Moily alleged in an interview to PTI.
He later clarified that Ramesh was among those responsible for the policy paralysis and 'not the only person'.
"He (Ramesh) was Environment Minister...he was also minister in-charge of rural development... there.. on land acquisition. A lot of hardship was created for industrialists acquiring land and industries' establishment. (When he was) environment (minister), everything was negative... no system was evolved to clear it (environment clearance for projects)", Moily alleged.
"As if the Congress is demonising (Modi)," Moily said in a counter to Ramesh, who had recently expressed the view that 'demonising' the prime minister all the time was not going to help.
He claimed that Ramesh's remark was in 'very bad taste', and charged the latter with 'compromising himself' with the Bharatiya Janata Party with such a statement.
"And any leader who would like to give such a statement, I think, they are not doing service to Congress party or the its leadership. Because they enjoy power as ministers, once they come in the Opposition, they would keep a bridge with the ruling party," Moily said.
Claiming that Tharoor was never considered as a mature politician, he said, "He (Tharoor) is often on and off fond of giving statements and finding his place in the press. That's all."
"I don't think his (Tharoor's) statement could be taken that seriously. He has to become a serious politician. That's our plea", he said.
"I think the time is now for the Congress party to take appropriate disciplinary action and also warn these people... (those) who want to go out (of the Congress party), let them go out very straight forwardly; not sabotaging the party and its ideology being within the party", he added.
Moily, a former Karnataka Chief Minister, stressed the need for the Congress leadership to take immediate steps to rejuvenate the party both at the All India Congress Committee and State levels, saying there is no alternative to such initiatives.
"We should not delay (taking those steps) just because there are elections (coming up) in two-three states. Every time there will be excuse of elections", he said.
The party should be 'very strictly organised' with those wedded to Congress values and understand the pulse of the people, according to him.
"We will have to do it. Already people within the party are feeling; it's high time because otherwise BJP will be emboldened to harass our cadre. People... present government. BJP will have to look to the Congress party with respect and also with fear; otherwise they (BJP) will have no fear at all of the Opposition", Moily said.
The Congress should not yield to any other political party, its own primacy of place, he added.