Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit

Azad said that elections must be held to leadership positions if the Congress were to be revived. 

Updated
Politics
4 min read
Azad said that elections must be held to leadership positions if the Congress were to be revived. 
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Amid growing calls for restructuring the party, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday, 22 November remarked that ‘sycophancy’ was to be blamed for ‘death’ and ‘downfall’ of the party and that the Gandhis helming it must hold elections to leadership positions, if the grand old party were to be revived, reported news agency ANI.

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

The Gandhis, however, were given a ‘’clean chit” by Azad, as he maintained that they had already agreed to most of the demands.

What did Azad say about the Gandhis?

“I’m giving a clean chit to Gandhis as they can’t do much right now due to COVID-19. There’s no change in our demands. They’ve agreed to most of our demands. Our leadership should hold elections if they want to become a national alternative & revive the party.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha 

Azad’s remarks come after the Congress’ poor show in Bihar elections and by-polls in other states made leaders like Kapil Sibal and Chidambaram make a clarion call for change.

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

In Bihar, Congress could only win 19 out of the 70 seats it contested, as opposed to other alliance partners like RJD which won 75 seats and left parties, which won 16 seats.

What was Azad’s main argument?

Arguing that the party’s structure has collapsed and needs to be rebuilt, Azad said that office bearers will only be mindful of their responsibilities if they are elected. He said that office bearers won’t go till the time they are appointed.

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)
“Office bearers should understand their responsibility. Till the time, office bearers are appointed, they won’t go. But if all office bearers are elected, then they will understand their responsibility. Right now, anyone gets any post in the party.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha 

Who did Azad blame for Congress’ downfall?

Conceding that the Congress has been at its ‘’lowest in the last 72 years,” Azad said that the party has lost the position of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha in the last two terms.

Lashing out at what he called was ‘’5-star culture,” Azad said that until and unless this attitude is shaken off, the party cannot win elections.

“Polls aren’t won by 5-star culture. Problem with leaders today is if they get a party ticket, they first book a 5-star hotel. They won’t go if there’s a rough road. Till the time 5-star culture is given up, one can’t win elections.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha 

Azad also clarified that seeking reform does not mean that there is any rebellion in the party. Maintaining that there is no challenge to the position of party president, Azad said that “there is no rebellion in Congress party. Rebellion means replacing someone.”

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

What had Sibal said before?

Prior to Azad, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, in an interview to The Indian Express, had said that polls in Bihar and the by-polls elsewhere have demonstrated that the people of this country do not consider the Congress as an alternative.

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

He said that the problem will not be addressed unless the Congress Working Committee, which is a nominated body, adopts a democratic process.

“First we have to have a conversation; with experienced minds, experienced hands, with people who understand the political realities of India, people who know what and how to articulate in the media, people who know how to get people to listen to them”
Sibal to The Indian Express.

What did Chidambaram say about poll results?

In an interview to newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, former finance minister P Chidambaram, said that the Bihar elections and the by-election results indicate that the Congress party either has zero organisational presence on the ground or that it has weakened considerably.

“I am more worried about the by-poll results in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. These results show that the party either has no organisational presence on the ground or has been weakened considerably.”
P Chidambaram 

Speaking on Bihar polls, Chidambaram told the newspaper that the Congress had contested more seats than its organisational strength.

Azad Blames Cong’s ‘Death’ on Sycophancy; Gives Gandhis Clean Chit
(Photo/Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

“The Congress was given 25 seats where the BJP or its allies had been winning for 20 years. The Congress should have refused to contest from these seats. The party should have fielded only 45 candidates,” he said.

(With inputs from ANI, The Indian Express and Dainik Bhaskar )

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