After defeat in UP, Uttarakhand, two ex-Congress ministers speak out: Get rid of coterie, sycophancy

Kishore Chandra Deo said that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi has to get rid of “a dozen people” around him to “survive”.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: March 16, 2017 12:26 pm
Assembly elections 2017, elections 2017, Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, UP polls, Rahul Gandhi, BJP, Congress, Samajwadi Party, SP, BSp, Narendra Modi, Akhilesh yadav, manipur elections, Goa polls, Uttarakhand elections 2017, Punjab polls, Punjab elections 2017, AAP, Irom sharmila, Okram Ibobi, amarinder singh, sidhu, parkash singh badal, manohar parrikar, elections news, exit polls, Up exit polls, india news, indian express news Rahul Gandhi during the parliament on 9th march 2017. Express photo by Renuka Puri.

The faultlines that emerged in the Congress, after the humiliating defeat in UP and Uttarakhand, widened Wednesday as two former UPA ministers hit out at the leadership over a culture of “sycophancy” coming in the way of grooming leaders. Former tribal affairs and panchayati raj minister Kishore Chandra Deo said that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi has to get rid of “a dozen people” around him to “survive”. And, former law minister Ashwani Kumar said the party should candidly accept that mistakes have been made and show willingness to atone for them — “wherever the responsibility lies”.

In Mumbai, former party MP Priya Dutt said the Congress suffers from an “auto immune disease” and that everyone from within should try to rebuild the organisation. Speaking to The Indian Express, Congress leader Deo said that the party was “heavily depending on a dozen people who, for all practical purposes, have no accountability”.

“Many of them have also developed certain personal likes and dislikes at the expense of the party. They have been continuing in important positions. The same people keep playing musical chairs and are put in charge from one state to another. You take the list of states these people have been in charge of and in most, the Congress has lost,” he said. Asked if Rahul was aware of this, he said, “Of course, he knows. He has mentioned it in party meetings.”

Questioned why the AICC vice-president had not taken any action, Deo said, “It is not a million-dollar question but a billion-dollar question.” Ashwani Kumar, when asked if it was time to look beyond Rahul, said, “All I can say is that this is the greatest ever threat that the Congress has faced to its relevance as a national political party, and everything that is necessary needs to be considered.”

Asked whether if that included replacing Rahul, he said, “I have said what I wanted to say.” “All that the Congress needs to do is to put into motion a process which will be able to throw up leadership at various levels. When you confuse sycophancy for loyalty, you don’t create leaders. When intellect is at a discount, you can’t make a great party,” Kumar told The Indian Express.

Deo, meanwhile, pointed out that the new Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh was a former Congressman. “The same thing happened in Arunachal Pradesh. When these things happen, what are those in charge doing? What are they advising?” he asked. Citing the examples of Congress rebels Vijay Bahuguna in Uttarakhand and Rita Bahuguna Joshi in UP, Deo said, “People who you make PCC presidents and chief ministers, once they are out of the post, they go and join a party which is ideologically totally opposed to yours. So what kind of choices are these? Who made these choices?”

Asked if the party would be able to regain its stature under Rahul’s leadership, Deo said, “It is not important whether it is Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi or some other Gandhi. I will put a counter question to you. Can Rahul get rid of these people around him? If he can, he will survive. Otherwise he will also have to face the same music. It is very clear.” Ashwani Kumar said the scale of the defeat in Uttarakhand and UP, and the rise of the BJP in Manipur made it absolutely imperative for the party to go beyond platitudes. “The surgery or introspection needs to delve deeper into one single issue. Why is it that the Congress party could not generate a set of leaders across the country?”

Kumar said that the introspection, if it happens, should be translated into action. “Merely analysing on a theoretical basis is not enough,” he said. “Democratic elections is about leadership. It is about bonding. It is about emotions, it is about connect with the people. These are the issues that need to be gone into rather than being satisfied by a game of musical chairs,” said Kumar.

“There are leaders who are capable of creating a popular sentiment and there are leaders who are capable of identifying the popular sentiment and riding the crest of that sentiment. That is what leadership is all about,” he said. Deo, meanwhile, citied the cases of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to say that “the people who finished off Congress are still in charge over there”. “If they are sending the same people to finish off the party in one state after another. If this kind of a thing goes on, it will be very difficult for the party to come up,” he said.

Pointing to the recent civic elections in Odisha, Deo said that the Congress was inactive and the central leadership took no interest. “There was a strong sentiment against Naveen Patnaik and the BJD government. The Congress people said that our party is not interested in defeating him. Many asked me if there was an unwritten understanding between Patnaik and our party. When they saw our party’s inertia, many of them decided to go with the BJP to teach Patnaik a lesson,” said Deo.

“In Andhra, there is a very strong resentment against Chandrababu Naidu. People are also not enamoured of Jagan Mohan Reddy. But if my people in charge from Delhi and in the state are totally sold out to Jagan, how do you expect the party to grow there? Every state has this kind of a particular situation where the party is decimated everyday,” Deo alleged. Former MP Dutt said that the party had to treated “from within”. “Congress has shown repeatedly that it suffers from an auto immune disease. Congress destroys Congress. we need to be treated from within to be healthy again,” she said.

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  1. I
    indian
    Mar 16, 2017 at 2:21 am
    As long as they believe it's everyone other than the hi family's fault, the BJP has nothing to worry about.
    Reply
    1. C
      Chandu Shah
      Mar 16, 2017 at 8:30 am
      If congress is to survive it has to get rid of Nehru remnants totally. It is clear now that they have looted India for the last 70 odd years.
      Reply
      1. I
        IslamForFoools
        Mar 16, 2017 at 11:44 am
        Get rid of anti Hindu and pro musselman agenda. That's the only way forward
        Reply
        1. I
          IML sood
          Mar 16, 2017 at 12:25 am
          Use less discussion, till Cong. remove Nehru hi clan curse, nothing will be workable.
          Reply
          1. H
            Hindustani
            Mar 16, 2017 at 7:07 am
            Did it stop? Now have muslim stopped. Instead of thanking hindus for letting their half families live in India other half migrated to their beloved in stan, Muslim want to cut cows in front of hindu homes. If muslim want 4 wives them give them flogging and publicly chopping of limbs as per their hate Manual. No secular democratic non Muslim country except in India allows 4 wives and triple talaq. It is amazing when muslim use word secular. Show me any secular law which muslim follow. Can a Muslim be secular.. when their hate Manual which they read 5 times a day calls me a Kafir. It is all because of hi. Teach full personal life of hi. todays world, he would called a PERVERT.
            Reply
            1. M
              Michellegt;Vedicgt;human
              Mar 16, 2017 at 5:23 am
              Finally some members of CONGIES now realises that GHANDIS needs to go,---they now realise that they are wasting their energy with foreigners who are fake is,----CONGIES have now realised that secular will not work since Hindus around the globe have now United,---CONGIES have now realised that BJP/NDA and sir MODIJI is in for a long stay and to move Hindustan fast forward into the world centre stage,---Jai hind.
              Reply
              1. M
                MyTake
                Mar 15, 2017 at 11:39 pm
                The most dangerous "caste" is within Congress itself!
                Reply
                1. M
                  MyTake
                  Mar 15, 2017 at 11:41 pm
                  What about the mobs who want to keep communal BJP out?lt;br/gt;Hiding! Finding it difficult to digest the w lesson they got?
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    MyTake
                    Mar 16, 2017 at 3:01 am
                    UP election has pushed Long-article-wallas into action!
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      MyTake
                      Mar 16, 2017 at 4:45 am
                      What you sow is what you reap! Machineries and resources that emplo to haunt the people will come back to haunt you now and rightfully so!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What you expect from those who have no higher goals in life?
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Ramakrishnan pillai
                        Mar 16, 2017 at 2:23 am
                        What India has got from secularism? This secularism is only applicable to Hindus only. In the case of Hindus, Government can do whatever they want against Hinduism and it's culture. But in the case of other religions they can do whatever they want like terrorisme, love jihad,killing of other religions people,destruction of their temples,forceful conversion to their communities from Hinduism. If Hindus say something against this that is communal activity and Government will arrest them and will send to jail. For other community they can do whatever they want. This is the meaning of SECULARISM in India. This is the time to realise this action by Government and parties like Congress, leftists and isolate them by giving our votes to party who protects fundamental rights of Hinduism and also strongly act against those people who areally trying to destroy our great nation
                        Reply
                        1. N
                          Nath
                          Mar 16, 2017 at 6:00 am
                          Advise Rahul to get married either to an Indian or to a foreigner.He should aim at 2 children fast may be twins. His generation may revive Congress.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Arif
                            Mar 16, 2017 at 5:46 am
                            Ye baigan ka criticism hai, get rid of dozen members -coterie !!! Joke of the year- I say get rid of an utterly non-performing Party president who sits there in that position just because his fathers and forefathers were in that position; has no experience in running atleast a single state and lays claim to biggest post of a biggest Democracy????? How long will we digest this joke? Why And for what? At the cost of growth of this nation-SORRY
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              aap
                              Mar 16, 2017 at 5:42 am
                              Same story, nothing will change in Congress as long as mama shakuni (Digvijay) is the margadarshak of the party
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                ak
                                Mar 16, 2017 at 3:38 am
                                Not really; Politicians make it look complex for their own benefit.. they will divide us between Hindus, Muslims etc.. etc... then next they will divide us between SC/ST's and others .. then OBC's and others .. and then MBC's and VVV Most Backward and any other way they can slice and dice ..lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;When a road is built .. it is not built for Hindus or Muslims or races .. it is for everyone .. when power is supplied reliably .. it is for everyone .. when agriculture improves .. it is for everyone .. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;When money is looted through scams .. everyone loses ..lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Complexity is deliberately CREATED by the politicians .. we the people do not care ..
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  AKG
                                  Mar 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm
                                  Which category does Rahul fit
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    akbar khan
                                    Mar 16, 2017 at 7:07 am
                                    What can anyone expect from a Party headed by a drug-addict? First boot the buffoon out, for Chrissakes!.
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      vijay
                                      Mar 16, 2017 at 10:42 am
                                      No point in closing the gates after the horses have bolted.
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        ashok s
                                        Mar 16, 2017 at 2:50 am
                                        Rrahul needs to wake up . see mayawati claiming malfunction of voting machines , rahul should support her .
                                        Reply
                                        1. T
                                          Tushar
                                          Mar 16, 2017 at 4:48 am
                                          Another History manitor.. hiji wanted to stop the blood shed between India and stan .. That's it. Main culprit s were British who put the seed of division before they left India ..and the weapon they used for it were RSS
                                          Reply
                                          1. T
                                            Tushar
                                            Mar 16, 2017 at 4:45 am
                                            Atlast Modi is being the campaigner for Congress.This huge defeat as a result of Modis performance had made Congress think about the negatives they hve and work it out for parties good future.. All the best
                                            Reply
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