Two years since the Congress suffered its worst defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the demand for an organisational reshuffle is again gaining ground. Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Brar said there had been a “delay” in decision-making on organisational matters, and that “new faces” should be brought into the AICC and state Congress to revive the party.
He said it was time vice-president Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress president. “The sooner he takes over, the faster the Congress will improve,” Brar said.
Brar, MLA from Gidderbaha, said the party should also give tickets to new faces in Punjab. “Where people are fed up with old faces, we have to bring new faces. The criteria should be winnability. If we give tickets on recommendations and to relatives, the Congress will not come to power,” he said.
Brar is in the midst of conducting organisational elections in the Youth Congress. The membership pattern has been changed and the election process tweaked. He also has been asked by Rahul to identify “good and potential youngsters” in each state, and is working to increase the Youth Congress’s presence on the social media.
Talking to The Indian Express, Brar said he believes the Congress should more aggressively challenge the BJP government’s decisions. “Had we protested more vigorously, events in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand might not have happened… Such a big thing happened… They toppled our government and now they are after Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh,” he said.
Asked what was lacking, Brar said, “I can’t say what is lacking. But I would like to say we were weak on that issue. I think when such situations face the party, it should seriously discuss and fight a battle. We have a history of fighting. Even during Indira Gandhi’s time, we fought… We need to focus.”
Asked what the Congress should do to regain electoral space, he said, “I think in many places, people want somebody to be made the leader, new people should be brought in… I am 100 per cent sure that, either at pradesh level or AICC level, if new faces come in, there will be a change… We need to strengthen the organisation… we are not doing enough.”
He said the party’s booth level should be strengthened and workers empowered. “In the past, booth presidents sent recommendations (for candidate selection). District presidents used to send names. In between this changed and names started from the top, which damaged us,” he said.
Asked about a reshuffle, Brar said the party was performing its role as opposition well. “Organisationally, I feel somewhere there has been delay in decision-making. But decisions are being taken now… I agree reshuffles are due but there are many circumstances… there are compulsions in states, in many places there are old leaders… I think we have been late in taking decisions. But in the coming days, the party will focus on these aspects,” he said.
On Punjab, he said the Congress was in a comfortable position despite the AAP challenge as, unlike Delhi, the Congress was not facing anti-incumbency. “People are against Akalis. There is no anger against us,” he said.