Congress will have to adopt the BJP's technique of strengthening its regional leaders if it wants to regain power at the Centre, Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat said on Wednesday.
"The BJP strengthened its local and regional leaders, including (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, to dislodge us from power. We will have to adopt the same technique so that Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister in 2024," the Congress campaign head in poll-bound Uttarakhand said.
The Congress has to defeat the BJP in states first to pave the way for its victory at the national level, he added.
Explaining the rationale behind the idea, Harish Rawat said it was his understanding of politics.
Apart from seeing the ideology of a party, he said, the voters also see the individual who represents them so that they can make him accountable for the promises made to people for five years.
Earlier in the day, Mr Rawat created a flutter in the political circles, alleging non-cooperation from his organisation and noting that he sometimes feels it is time for him to rest.
"Isn't it strange that the organisational structure at most places, instead of extending a helping hand, is standing with its head turned away or playing a negative role at a time when I have to swim across the ocean of elections? The powers that be have left crocodiles there. People on whose orders I have to swim, their nominees are tying up my hands and feet," Mr Rawat tweeted.
"I am invaded by thoughts. A voice from within sometimes tells me it is enough Harish Rawat, you have swum long. It is time to rest," the former Uttarakhand chief minister said.
"I am in a dilemma. The new year may show me the way."
Asked about the tweet, Harish Rawat did not reveal who had turned away from him, but explained what he meant by "crocodiles".
"It is clear. When (Union) Home Minister Amit Shah visited Uttarakhand, he reminded me of a sting operation done by someone. No one from the journalistic fraternity would like to own up today. It was a veiled threat from the Home Minister to cause harm to me if I dared speak too much," he said.
"The CBI, the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax (department) are the crocodiles unleashed by the Centre for its political opponents," Mr Rawat added.
When senior Congress leader and Harish Rawat's media advisor Surendra Kumar was asked by reporters about the former Uttarakhand chief minister's tweet, he said some forces within the party are playing into the hands of the ruling BJP to hurt the poll prospects of the Congress in Uttarakhand.
"There is no alternative to Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand. He is the most popular leader in the state who has kept the party flag flying. But there are some forces playing into the BJP's hands to mar the possibility of the Congress making a comeback in the state," Mr Kumar said.
Asked whether Harish Rawat's hurt had anything to do with All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Uttarakhand Devendra Yadav, he said, "Devendra Yadav is our in-charge. His role is that of a panchayati pramukh. But if the panchayati pramukh begins tying the hands of the party workers and hurts the party's poll prospects, the high-command should take notice of it." Devendra Yadav and Harish Rawat do not share the best of relations with each other.
While Harish Rawat's loyalists have been saying that the 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly polls will be fought under his leadership, Mr Yadav has been maintaining that the election will be contested under collective leadership.