Senior Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s call to fix 65 or 70 years as the age limit for holding active posts in the organisation has left the party divided as conflicting views emerged on Friday. While senior leader Digvijaya Singh endorsed Dwivedi’s argument saying it was time for a “major change in the organisational structure”, former commerce minister Anand Sharma said age alone cannot be the benchmark.
The Congress, however, officially dissociated itself from Dwivedi’s remarks saying it was not the party’s view
Though Singh did not specify any age limit referring to the saying that “a man is as old as he feels”, buthe endorsed Dwivedi views that generational change was need of the hour.
“Historically, the Congress has always encouraged younger people to come at crucial places. So, I will be the happiest man if the generational change takes place as early as possible,” he said.
“We cannot fight as a political party unless we give enough opportunity to the younger people. At the same time, we must accommodate and open up our organisation at every level. In modern management parlance, succession management is something which all organisations must practice. Therefore, it is high time that there is a major change in the organisational structure of the Congress party,” he said.
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Singh also pointed out that Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad became Congress presidents at the age of 38 and 36 respectively. “Indira Gandhi became AICC president at the age of 40. I was made PCC president at 38. We have always encouraged youth in the Congress party,” he said. “I had said the same thing at the Burari AICC session in 2010, he said.
Anand Sharma, however, disagreed with Dwivedi. “When it comes to leadership, it has to be the ability to serve, acceptance and commitment… The benchmark cannot be only age. It would include other factors. Everybody believes in generational changes. It is a natural process. But you do not do it in a regimented manner,” he told The Indian Express.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi distanced the party from Dwivedi’s formula at its official briefing. “Let me make it clear. This is his view and he is certainly entitled to his views. I would also clarify after having sought appropriate clarification in this regard that this is not the party’s view… This is his personal view and does not form the view of the Congress party,” he said.