Congress has hit its “lowest trough”, party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Saturday, maintaining that party is in the process of formulating a strategy to bounce back.
“There is no excuse for our performance in the election. I think if we start defending it then we will be starting on the wrong foot. I do not think one or two things went wrong, possible everything that could go wrong, went wrong. This is probably the lowest trough we have reached,” Scindia said during India Today conclave in Delhi.
He said the party has to examine what went wrong. “The only way one can cease this as an opportunity is to go back to the drawing board…See and examine what exactly went wrong and build on a strategy of going forward. Thats what we are trying to do,” he said.
Rejecting criticism of Rahul Gandhi’s decision to go on a sabbatical, he said the Congress vice-president should be allowed to “introspect” and people should wait and see what he does after he returns.
If he (Rahul) is able to do that, “that certainly empowers all us to be able to do it, within the party at our level as well,” Scindia said.
“Lets wait till he returns. He obviously has things on his mind. Lets see what happens when he comes back. All of us are independently empowered to give him that feedback,” he said.
“I certainly think so. Not only within your own party but also the way that we tried to make sure that we developed consensus before we brought something through,” he said.
Noting that building consensus has not been seen in the last nine months, he said that the concept of “brute” majority and pushing things through in a democratic set up is not “healthy”.
“Because they (BJP) think that they have a brute majority at least in the lower house…there is no conversation on any ordinance or bill. Therefore this concept of brute majority and pushing things through in a democratic set up is very unhealthy,” he said.
Giving the example of the Land Acquisition Bill, the Congress leader said that when the Congress brought the bill in 2013, they discussed it for two years.
He said that Sumitra Mahajan,who was then the chairperson of the standing committee which examined the bill, took one year before she gave her recommendations which was also fully accepted by the Congress party while Sushma Swaraj’s recommendations were also accepted.
“When the bill moved to the Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad gave recommendations, those were accepted. We talked to 14 political parties and developed some sort of consensus.
That bill was supported by BJP in Parliament when it was voted on. Therefore it is even more shocking that they have come up with an ordinance and change the whole nature of that bill.
“Its a classical U turn by BJP. The Congress has always believed of taking everyone along. Unfortunately in the nine months, we have not seen that happening with this government,” he said.
Rebutting the Congress leader, BJP leader Balbir Punj said that in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, every minister was a
government. “Every minister in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet was the government but there was no government at all. That was the level of democracy you had during his tenure,” he said.
Commenting about Rahul Gandhi’s absence, the BJP leader said,”It is a classical example of the establishment and dissent combined. That can happen only in Congress. You are the establishment but at the same time you are the dissident.”
Asked if Narendra Modi was more confirmative, Punj said that the parliamentary system of democracy imposes certain restrictions and limitations.
“I can say within the party forum you can raise any issue or disagree with the leadership. If you become a dissident in the open, then there are implications. It’s discipline,” he said.
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