Free Press Journal

We don’t send seniors on ‘compulsory leave’: Congress


New Delhi: Congress does not believe in sending its senior leaders on “compulsory leave” and putting them in ‘Margdarshak Mandal’, the party today said, dismissing reports of clash between new PCC chiefs brought by Rahul Gandhi and the old guard.

“Both youth and experience are needed” for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to rebuild the party, chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters, seeking to give an impression that “all is well” within the organisation with young and the old working in tandem.

He was asked to react over Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam’s complaint that “new state presidents” were encountering resistance from the old guard which was sapping organisational strength. Nirupam urged veterans to embrace the new leadership to help the party tide over its worst period.

“The established leadership is creating hurdles in the working of new PCC presidents, an atmosphere of non-cooperation and opposition prevails in the organisation,” Nirupam had said in an interview. Nirupam’s refrain was that the “established leadership must be ready to accept new PCC leaders” who have the “ultimate responsibility” to revive Congress.

Surjewala said at a press confernce that the party needed “right amount” of youth and experience to take the organisation forward and the young leaders, who have been given charge, were also “seasoned” leaders. There has been factional resistance to Rahul Gandhi’s handpicked PCC heads in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. In Punjab, PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa and former chief minister Amarinder Singh have been at loggerheads.

Surjewala took a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Congress was “not a one man ruled party” like the BJP. Besides, he said that the Congress does not send its senior leaders on compulsory leave to the ‘Margdarshak Mandal’, a taunt at the BJP which has made veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi members of the Mandal, derisively called by detractors at “old men’s club”.

Congress has been facing a crisis since its worst electoral debacle in the Lok Sabha polls last year, which saw the party not only losing power but getting just 44 seats in a House of 543, its lowest.