This Article is From Mar 10, 2022

Ex Congressman's "Entitled Leaders" Dig At Gandhis After Poll Defeats

The results also showed that the Gandhis are no longer winning elections for the party, said Ashwani Kumar, who was in the Congress for 46 years before he quit last year.

Ex Congressman's 'Entitled Leaders' Dig At Gandhis After Poll Defeats

Ashwani Kumar said Gandhis are no longer a cementing force.

New Delhi:

The election results mark the endgame for the Congress, former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar said today, calling it a "moment of reckoning" for the party he recently quit.

"These are transformative results," he said.

The results also showed that the Gandhis are no longer winning elections for the party, said Ashwani Kumar, who was in the Congress for 46 years before he quit last year.

"One thing is clear. The Gandhi leadership no longer delivers for the Congress. They are no longer a cementing force," he added.

Calling himself "still a Sonia Gandhi loyalist", Mr Kumar said she no longer had her stamp on the decisions of the Congress.

"And those who are in control cannot be accepted as a national alternative by a long shot. But I am still optimistic because as water finds its level, people find their leaders," he added, without specifying.

The Congress lost Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and was defeated in the three states where it had hoped for a comeback or at least, a fighting chance - Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

"I don't want to pat myself on the back but I had said this - AAP is a tsunami waiting to hit Punjab. We all knew it will go past 75, but nobody dared to say so as it seemed silly," Ashwani Kumar said.

Mr Kumar said the Congress, battling chaotic infighting between its top leaders in Punjab, had it coming.

"I feel very sorry for the Congress. It was a circus that was going on in Punjab for the last three months and everything that could be the lowest in politics was seen as represented by the Congress in the state," said Mr Kumar, who was Union Law Minister in the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government at the Centre.

The more important story of this election, he said, was AAP and the Trinamool Congress scripting a national alternative.

"The new narrative that is emerging will see the virtual decimation of congress as a political alternative. The return of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh shows we have to revisit our definition of secularism. The alternative has to be a better alternative, not a competing worse alternative," he said pointedly.

Asked whether the elections would be the tipping point for the Congress and split the party, Mr Kumar replied: "This Congress is a rag-tag congress. It has been decimated...maybe led by entitled leaders. But anybody of any consequence will find it extremely difficult to be in the Congress."

Mr Kumar demurred when it was pointed out that when it comes to national elections, the BJP and Congress are direct rivals in around 200 of 543 Lok Sabha seats.

"This is a myth - but this myth is being shattered. The challenge for the BJP is only this - it has to extend itself in the south and the east," he said.

Was he headed to the BJP, like many other Congress leaders in recent months? Mr Kumar denied it but did not rule it out.

"I have not even given it a thought (joining BJP)," he said.

"No political party is a pariah," he added, significantly.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Mr Kumar said: "I am not happy with the plight of the Congress party but its political relevance in the future will remain negligible. The contribution of the Congress party is going to be negligible. In view of political scenarios emerging out in the country, the Congress party will remain a regional party."