IN surprise comments critical of his party, eight months after its rout in the Lok Sabha elections, senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was a victory of “Indianness”. He also said Modi’s ascension to power marked the beginning of a “new period”.
“I don’t consider the election result of 2014 as Modi and the BJP’s victory, but it is the defeat of the Congress,” Dwivedi was quoted as saying by news portal Rediff.com.
Seeming to criticise his party’s poll strategy, Dwivedi, general secretary in charge of the party organisation and a member of the Congress Working Committee, told reporters: “Modi aur BJP logon ko samjhane main safal ho gaye ki samajik roop se wo desh ke nagrik ke jyada nikat hain. Kul milakar bina kahe bole to yeh ek tarah se Bhartiyata ki jeet hai. (Modi and the BJP have been successful in convincing the people that socially, they are closer to them. Without elaborating, it can be said that in a way it was the victory of Indianness).”
While Rediff.com quoted Dwivedi as saying that Modi’s victory was the beginning of a new era, he later clarified his statement, saying he meant it was the beginning of a new period. “Yeh ek naye samay ki shuruvat hain aur wo chunotiyon se bhara hua hain (this is the beginning of a new period which is full of challenges),” he told reporters.
Dwivedi, a Rajya Sabha member, is considered close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He is not a regular at 12, Tughlak Lane, the official residence of Rahul Gandhi.
This is not the first time that Dwivedi has spoken out. In the run-up to the general elections, he triggered a controversy with his suggestion that caste-based reservation should be replaced by a quota system based on financial backwardness. Congress president Sonia Gandhi later had to issue a statement asserting that the Congress supports quota for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
Earlier, Dwivedi also criticised the Congress for laying emphasis on promoting “technical leadership” instead of developing a “natural leadership”. He noted that powerful regional leaders had emerged in many states, although they were not educated abroad, did not speak fluent English, and were definitely not experts of the new technology.
However, Dwivedi later told reporters that what he had said in an “objective” analysis was that the election results of 2014 was not the victory of Modi or BJP but defeat of Congress. He said that Modi and BJP succeeded in projecting that they were closer to Indian people and presented their victory as that of Indianness. “The voters felt like that”.
He said that what he had said in the interview was that BJP’s victory has ushered in a new time which has brought forth a very big challenge before Congress and there is no scope for any misunderstanding over the issue.
As the interview created speculation over his future course of action, Dwivedi made it clear “people like him do not change their thought and loyalties. If such a time comes, I will keep away from partisan politics. It is just unthinkable that I will do something else”.
(With inputs from PTI)