A day after the Congress issued a showcause notice to Punjab Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar for asking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul to step aside for two years in the wake of the crushing election defeat, senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi suggested the party should be open to such criticism.
“I do not talk about individuals. But in any organisation, there should be an ability to listen to and not just make others listen,” Dwivedi said. The Congress officially feigned ignorance on Dwivedi’s remarks.
Although the remarks came in the context of Brar, it is seen as reflection of the growing uneasiness among the senior Congress leaders – who have come to be known as the old guard – over the lack of direction in the party and the way it’s leadership has been functioning off late.
When asked about Dwivedi’s remarks, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala declined to comment. “I have not heard Janardan Dwivedi’s statement. We would refer back to him and then get back to you,” he said.
This is not the first time that Dwivedi has created a flutter in the party in recent times. In the run up to the general elections, he triggered a controversy proposing an end to caste-based reservations altogether and suggesting a switch to quota on the basis of financial backwardness. The suggestion then spawned much debate within and outside the party and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to issue a statement asserting that the Congress stood for the system of reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
He had also argued that the party instead of developing a “natural leadership” is laying emphasis on promoting “technical leadership” and noted that powerful regional leaders emerged in many states although they were neither educated abroad nor spoke fluent English and were definitely not experts of the new technology.
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