Following criticism by some leaders of the state of affairs in the Congress after the party’s poor show in the Bihar polls and Assembly bye-elections, senior leader Salman Khurshid on Sunday said there was no leadership crisis in the party and an all-round support for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul was “apparent to anyone who is not blind”.
Claiming that there were enough fora in the Congress for airing views, Khurshid told PTI, “The leadership listens to me, I am given an opportunity, they (those criticising in the media) are given an opportunity, where does this thing come from that the leadership is not listening.”
Recently, Congress veteran Kapil Sibal told The Indian Express that people no longer saw the party as an “effective alternative” and said the leadership was not addressing the issues within. The Congress, he said, knows the problems it is facing as well as the answers, but is not willing to recognise them. MPs Vivek Tankha and Karti Chidambaram reiterated what Sibal said.
Asked about some leaders calling for having a full-time president, Khurshid said they should come forward and talk about it inside the party. “See our leader and say you don’t look good without a label, the leader will take a call,” Khurshid said.
“Nobody has gone away, they are all here. The only insistence is on a label, why do you insist on a label. There is no president in the Bahujan Samaj Party, there is no chairman in the Left wing parties, only general secretaries…Every party cannot follow the same model,” Khurshid told PTI.
In August, 23 Congress leaders, including Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, had written to the Congress high command, with suggestions on improving matters within the party. On the day that Khurshid made his remarks, Azad was quoted by ANI as saying: “Office bearers should understand their responsibility. If all office bearers are elected, then they will understand their responsibility. Right now, anyone gets any post in the party.”
Asked about the remarks by Sibal and other leaders, Khurshid asked why “does anybody have to tell the world that “we need to do this”.”
“Analysis is done all the time, there is no quarrel about analysis. It will be done. The leadership, of which all these people are a part, will appropriately look at what may have gone wrong, how we could have improved, and that will happen in the normal course, we needn’t talk about it in the public,” said Khurshid, a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Recently, Sonia Gandhi set up three committees comprising top party leaders to help her formulate the party’s position on economic issues, foreign affairs and national security. Khurshid has been made the convener of the panel on foreign affairs.
Asked if everyone in the Congress was strongly behind Rahul Gandhi as their leader, Khurshid said, “I think that is apparent to anyone who is not blind, that people are fully supportive of Congress president Sonia ji and of Rahul Gandhi, who is our former president. Everybody supports them.”
“Those who question (the leadership), if they claim to be democrats, they should have some courtesy to include us who don’t question (the leadership) and inside the party we can decide whether they are more or we are more. All our objection is about this happening outside the party,” he further said.
He also asserted that Congress should be prepared for a long struggle and try to persuade the voter rather than take recourse to shortcuts. “Why should you give up your ideology. If your ideology is not persuading the voter to go with you, you should either shut shop, or you wait. We persuade the voter, it will take time,” he said.