'He showed his hollowness of convictions and principles': Tharoor slams Scindia; says Congress needs 'longer-term' President
Photo: ANI

On Tuesday the Congress lost an important leader from among its ranks with Jyotiraditya Scindia's resignation. 22 Congress MLAs followed suit, resigning from the party and leaving the Kamal Nath government facing a possible end to its tenure.

It has not been a good year so far for the Congress. In the Delhi elections last month, the party failed to open its account. At a more grassroots level too, the party does not seem to have found much favour in recent times. Take the mayoral elections for the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), where the BJP retained the top post for example.

The question then is, what does the Congress need to turn things around?

Lok Sabha MP and party leader Shashi Tharoor believes that a change of guard might be in order. "We need to start with a longer-term, as opposed to interim, Congress president, as well as the 'elected' membership of the working committee," he told Rediff in an interview.

While Tharoor is not a member of the Congress Working Committee, he has repeatedly appealed to the body to "hold leadership elections to energise workers and inspire voters".

This, he opined, would add to the credibility of those holding the positions and help them tackle the "significant organisational challenges associated with re-energising the rank and file of the party."

Speaking about Scindia's exit, Tharoor said that while his followers in Madhya Pradesh had followed the former Congress leader out, "that will be the extent of it".

Tharoor opined that Scindia's seeming willingness to consort with a party he had previously been a vocal critic of showed a "shallowness and hollowness of convictions and principles". This was not something that many would be willing to emulate, he said.

Most Congress members, Tharoor told Rediff, would try to solve their issues while remaining within a party whose principles and ideals they believed in.

Tharoor added that while he wished Rahul Gandhi had not resigned from the post of Congress President, his decision should be taken into stride. The need of the hour he opined, was to find a process to identify an alternative individual and create "the best Congress party vehicle we can put on the road".

Interestingly, Scindia had been a close associate of Rahul Gandhi, and had, in the past, been considered by many as a leader who could replace Rahul as President, should the Gandhis step aside.

Tharoor does not believe that the Nehru-Gandhi association that many make with the Congress leadership is quite fair. While all members of the family are part of the Congress party, and to quote him, have inherited a "great legacy" as well as having "a clear record of success and experience in leading the party", there is more to it. Under the Gandhi family's leadership, he adds, the Congress has also nurtured a "strong crop of dynamic leaders".

According to Shashi Tharoor, all hope is not yet lost for the Congress. Bringing up the successful formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra and the successful alliance in Jharkhand, he said that it wasn't yet time to write the grand old party of yore off.

"The Congress is the only party with the experience, credibility and nationwide footprint to challenge and counter the divisive rule of the present government," he commented.

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