Facing one of the most difficult elections ahead, a senior Congress leader has now raised questions over whether it was prudent for the party to have headed the UPA II government after the 2009 polls.
Though he admits that alliances are a compulsion, he feels that Congress should have sat in the Opposition after the last general elections so that it could be in a position to form a government on its own after the coming polls.
“It would have been better that in 2009 after getting more support from the people than in 2004, the Congress should have called it quits so that someone else could have formed the government. Congress could have played the role of a healthy opposition,” Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in an interview.
His views assume significance at a time when the Congress is grappling with the issue of alliances and the government headed by it is facing a 10-year-old anti-incumbency and strong corruption charges.
“You cannot start a new experiment till you end the previous one. Since we did not close that chapter in 2009, we are pursuing the same path right now to face the challenges ahead,” Dwivedi, who is considered a strong proponent of ‘going it alone’, said when asked why the Congress cannot choose to go without alliances in the coming polls.
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He prefaced his remarks by saying that in the 2009 polls the Congress had sought the mandate of the people for a party government and not for UPA II, which it did not get though its tally of seats saw a sharp rise.
Dwivedi regretted “perhaps no major political party now has the patience as well as the self-confidence to discharge the role of an Opposition readily, face challenges, struggle for people’s cause and then come back with a new shine and mandate to form a government”.
He lamented that instead of developing “natural leadership”, emphasis was being laid on promoting “technical leadership”.
Citing the rise of regional party leaders in the past two-three decades, he insisted “they were not educated abroad or spoke fluent English. They were not even experts of new technology but still they got the support of people.
“Their only limitation was that they lacked a national perspective. But they did have the power to damage the major parties having the national outlook”.
Maintaining that both the nation as well as Congress followed a “middle path” and it will remain so, Dwivedi said, “how much ever you try to deflect it from that path, it has not succeeded and it will not succeed.
“It is better that both India and Congress function in tandem. Congress will not remain Congress if it does not tread the middle path. It has represented India for last 128 years because of this virtue which is all inclusive.”
The reticent party leader spoke at length giving insight into the thinking of a section of the party that pitches for bringing in the lost ‘glory’ of Congress.
Asked whether Congress should be practising alliance politics or focus on long term building of party, he remarked, “My personal opinion is the latter. But when you are part of an organisation, then the democratic norm is that we go by the opinion of the majority”.