Pradyot Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarma, the scion of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty and former Congress state chief, said it would have been better if cousin Jyotiraditya Scindia formed his own party though he respects his decision to join the BJP.
“I don’t agree with him joining BJP. I wish he had formed his own party like his father. Many would have joined. But then he knows it better about the ground situation in Madhya Pradesh,” Pradyot said, adding that he would not be following him to the BJP. Pradyot’s clarification is important since he was seen playing a crucial role in mediating resettlement of Mizoram’s Bru migrants with Home Minister Amit Shah.
Pradyot told indianexpress.com that many young Congress leaders like him find Rahul Gandhi’s sudden distancing from the Congress extremely inconvenient since their priorities were being constantly sidelined by seniors. “He (Scindia) called me up the previous night. I asked him bhai are you leaving and he he said he had decided to take the plunge. I asked have you spoken to Rahul and he said he had asked for a meeting five months ago but nobody called, nothing’s happened. Rahul has not been meeting anyone all this time. It is true,” explained Pradyot who quit as Tripura Congress chief last September.
“You can’t suddenly give up. If anyone calls Rahul Gandhi’s office, they are instructed to get in touch with Sonia Gandhi. Though I have left the Congress party, I still have huge respect for her. My resignation came on a similar issue. Rahul Gandhi left and suddenly we didn’t know who was leading us. You know where the buck stops at BJP, it’s Amit Shah or Narendra Modi. In Congress, you don’t know that,” Pradyot said.
Pradyot feels the crisis among young leaders in the Congress has been happening for a long time. “It started when Rahul Gandhi left the post of president after the Lok Sabha election. Suddenly, we didn’t know who the boss was. Sonia Gandhi took over and it was back to the old guard. Congress seems to have decided to take the CPIM policy of not giving the youth a chance so that old leaders can continue till they pass away. Unfortunately, Congress is not the CPIM,” he said in a rather sarcastic note.
When asked if he meant Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot when he used the term ‘stalwarts’ in his social media posts about young leaders being sidelined, Pradyot said he didn’t want to name anyone but felt the youth leaders in Congress were not given adequate importance after Rahul’s departure. “It’s time we were allowed to contribute our part to the nation as well. Rahul Gandhi should either form his own party or return to the Congress, take charge and lead it,” he said.
Pradyot reiterated that Congress has changed from a grand old party to just an old party since it is trying to live in its past glory instead of moving forward with pragmatic policies. “I feel more young leaders will walk out of the Congress unless there are corrections done immediately. I hope even if they have to quit Congress, they don’t join the BJP. They can form their own party, many people will join them. Many are unhappy in the Congress but don’t necessarily want to go in the BJP.”
Speaking about his own newly-formed ‘apolitical’ platform, The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA), Pradyot said he feels regional political parties will decide the future of Indian politics. “I think the country needs an opposition to the BJP and if the Congress can’t wake up and smell the coffee, then there will be alternatives. It may not be a single party but many regional parties which will create their own bastions like DMK, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, me (TIPRA), Aam Admi Party, Mayawati etc. Everyone will individually get up and fight and Congress will lose its space like what happened in Delhi. I feel the future of India will be the future of regional parties,” he added.
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