Vacate posts for party’s rise: Dwivedi to Cong veterans

Janardan Dwivedi (Screen grab).

In the midst of continuing suspense and uncertainty over leadership issue in Congress even after more than one month of Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as party chief, senior party leader Janardan Dwivedi on Tuesday hit out at veterans sticking to their posts even after clear indication of Gandhi to own up responsibility.
 
Dwivedi, who was in 2011 made a member in the four-member panel along with Rahul Gandhi, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel to look after party affairs in the absence of Sonia Gandhi after she had gone to the US for medical treatment, also suggested that Rahul Gandhi should set up a mechanism on a similar pattern to elect the new President for Congress now.
 
He also released a copy of a letter he had written to Sonia Gandhi on September 15 in 2014 at the height of the generation feud in the party post the then Lok Sabha poll debacle. 
 
Releasing the letter to media in which Dwivedi, who had then offered to quit from the post of general secretary and batted for the responsibility of active posts like general secretary and secretary to be entrusted to relatively younger leaders, said that the situation in  the party today is very much the same and hence he is making his letter public now which he did not do earlier after forbidden by Sonia Gandhi to do so.
 
Dwivedi raised questions on the credibility of the recent co-ordination committee meetings of Congress to deliberate on the leadership asking “who are those who are holding meetings to elect the new Congress President?”
 
“In his resignation letter Rahul Gandhi said people in Congress should take responsibility for the 2019 defeat and he cannot ask anyone else to do so while he himself continues in his post. Rahul Gandhi set an ideal through his resignation. But Rahul Gandhi resigns from his party and yet the party keeps functioning as usual.  
 
“Rahul Gandhi gave some indications in his resignation letter and those who were holding the posts of responsibility should have followed it. This did not happen. People do not want to quit the posts they are holding. Actually, you get nothing unless you are ready to give up. This has to be understood,” Dwivedi rued.
 
Dwivedi's remarks come amid most of the veterans in Congress sticking to their posts while younger leaders like Jyotriaditya Scindia, Milind Deora having quit from their posts.
 
Dwivedi felt that at the time of quitting, Rahul should have set up a mechanism to elect a new President and the Congress Working Committee could have zeroed on a new President.
 
“Meetings are being called in the name of the coordination committee. Where is the existence of coordination committee now?, he asked recalling that the coordination committee was set up for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which has lost its existence after polls are over.
 
 Steering clear of the young versus old debate on who should lead Congress that was kicked in after Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh batted for a young Congress President, Dwivedi said the criteria should “acceptability and charisma”.
 
“It is first the party workers, who accept the leadership, then the country (voters) accept it. If the carriers of your message are not accepting you, how will those outside the party accept you...if the party workers do not have faith in the leadership, the party gets weakened,” Dwivedi said without elaborating further.
 
In April 2014 months before the general elections, Dwivedi had made a strong push for bringing Priyanka Gandhi to the forefront of Congress saying her father late Rajiv Gandhi had spoken to him long back about her political aptitude. The remarks had raised many eyebrows in the party then. But five years later, Priyanka Gandhi was made AICC general secretary in January 2019 and given the charge of crucial Eastern Pradesh.
 
Dwivedi, a former Rajya Sabha member in past held the important designations of AICC General Secretary in-charge Organisation as well as Media and had raised issues many a time which did not find concurrence from the party leadership, was accused of going against the party line and was subsequently sidelined. After his Rajya Sabha term ended in January last year, Dwivedi is out of active politics in Congress.
 
Immediately after the second successive rout of Congress in 2019, Dwivedi had said he was not surprised with the result. Justifying his previous stands, Dwivedi on Tuesday said that when he had in February 2014 batted in favour of reservation on economic criteria, he was snubbed and even the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi had disagreed and pointed how this time everybody silently welcomed Modi government’s decision to provide 10 per cent quota on economic criteria rather than caste.

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