Adding to the rumblings within the Congress, senior party leader and former union minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has said the “advisers” of party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi did not give them “proper feedback”, and the party needs to get rid of its “oligarchical” system.
Rahul also came under fire at the Kerala PCC’s executive committee meeting on Thursday, with some blaming the “young leader” for the defeat. Meanwhile, senior party leader T H Musthafa, who had said Rahul should quit the party post, has been suspended.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Deo said, “It was not practically possible for the Congress president and vice president to travel to each corner of the country. The leadership relied on certain people and it is obvious they didn’t get proper feedback. Ultimately, the result was that nothing was done to assuage the situation.”
Deo, a five-time Lok Sabha member who lost the elections this time, said ticket distribution was left to the “whims and fancies of a few individuals” and there were “glaring gaps” in poll management. “The Congress used to be a mass movement. Now it is oligarchical. The party needs to tranform from this oligarchical situation,” said Deo, who has also been a CWC member, adding the party needs to be “objective and not subjective” at this point.
“The Andhra Pradesh bifurcation per se was not bad but the manner in which it was done was wrong. It was the failure of both the state and central leadership of the party, both of which failed to gauge the situation in the state. Nothing went right,” he said.
Last week, Deo had said the party leadership ought to “emancipate the grand old party from the clutches of rootless wonders and spineless creepers”, adding that there was a “crisis of credibility” for the party. His remarks come after some other Congress leaders, including Milind Deora, questioned Rahul’s team of advisers. While Deora said Rahul’s advisers did not have “their ears to the ground”, former minister Shashi Tharoor said Rahul needs to be “more communicative” with the masses.
At the party meeting in Kerala, senior Congress leader K Sudhakaran, who lost from Kannur, called for probity within the party organisation. While he did not take any names, he said the leader’s “youthful face” was not enough to win votes, and he should have the ability to reflect the sentiments of the youth as well.
Senior leader K C Abu from Kozhikode, a known confidant of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, said the “young leader” had stepped into a battle meant for seasoned leaders. Citing the example of the film industry, Abu pointed out at the incongruity of a young actor donning the role of a superstar.
While Chandy sought an introspection into the party’s loss in traditional strongholds, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala blamed the anti-poor policies of the UPA-II government.
The AAP accused the government of "politicising" the occasion by not inviting Kejriwal.