As Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi continues to hold brainstorming sessions with leaders to prepare a blue print for the party’s revival, senior leader Ashwani Kumar has said while it should be ensured that a “young leadership is groomed”, it is also necessary to “take advantage of the experience and wisdom of senior people.”
“We have got to ensure that while new talent comes up, while the young leadership is groomed— as Assembly elections provide the right context to project young faces— it is necessary to take advantage of the experience and wisdom of senior people and parliamentarians,” Kumar told The Indian Express.
The senior leader also said that the forthcoming organisational elections should be held in a manner that does not create “irreconcilable schisms and divisions within the party”. Many senior leaders have already told Rahul that the tradition of electing leadership through consensus, if there is one, should remain unchanged. In other words, the party should not force elections replicating the youth congress model.
When asked whether a non-Gandhi should become the Congress president, Kumar said: “The presidentship of Congress party is a closed issue as long as a member of the Gandhi family is available and is prepared to take it up. It includes the vice presidentship also. And rightly so. The Gandhis have provided the binding glue that kept the party together,” he said.
The senior leader, however, pointed out that there was a need to promote leaders in the states.
“Elections are won and lost in states. One of our weaknesses has been that we have not had many leaders with mass appeal in the states. We need to correct this,” he said.
Kumar also said the Congress needs to look inwards instead of finding fault with its opponents. “We need to recognise that somewhere down the line we lost the emotional bonding with people. We need to reconnect with them in an idiom which is politically credible and intellectually honest,” he said.