'If we had talked with Jyotiraditya Scindia, compromise may have been possible': Congress' Rashid Alvi terms royal scion's exit 'damaging
Senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi speaks with Firstpost about Jyotiraditya Scindia's exit from Congress and what it means for the party
Jyotiraditya Scindia's departure from Congress has not only revealed fault lines within the party, but also brought to fore a paralysed decision making process and disconnect between the Congress high command and the realities on the ground. Firstpost spoke with senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi, who had been an MP in both Houses of the Parliament, a spokesperson of the party and is a member of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra-headed Congress advisory committee for Uttar Pradesh, about Scindia's exit and what it means for the party.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Jyotiraditya Scindia, one of the most prominent next generation leaders of your party, has left Congress and joined BJP. He has said your party was in denial of the ground realities. Your comments.
It is very unfortunate. I have to say two things: as far as Scindia is concerned, he should not have taken this step. He should not have joined the BJP. If he had formed his own party, it would have been a different thing. But at the same time, we, as in Congress party, are also at fault. We should have given thought to it, and I think, if we had talked with Jyotiraditya a compromise was possible. It has damaged out party.
Can you elaborate on what you mean when you says "fault" of the party behind Jyotiraditya's exit. Sonia Gandhi is party president. Scindia, as Rahul Gandhi has said, was his friend from college days and could walk in his house any time. He also had direct access to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra then why they couldn’t sit and talk and resolve the issues?
Actually, I believe some persons would have misguided the top leaders. That I think was the reason.
Misguided whom, Sonia Gandhi?
They would have created such a situation that Jyotiraditya took this step.
But is it not a fact that Scindia was feeling left out. Kamal Nath continues to occupy state party president post despite the fact that he became the chief minister over a year and half ago. Shouldn’t Scindia have been made Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president?
It is my considered opinion that one man one post formula should be applied in the Congress party, so other people can also be accommodated. If we had done it earlier then Scindia would have been adjusted as MPCC president or something.
Why one person one post is not happening? Why so many vacancies of PCC chiefs are not being filled.
This should be done by high command. I can’t say more than that. One man one post formula should be implemented immediately. It is in the interest of the party.
Scindia’s departure is being seen as an indicator of the ills that have gripped Congress — a deep ideological and existential crisis. Could Scindia have left because he sees no future in Congress, and also no future for Congress?
Congress had given so much to him. He was a multiple-term MP, minister and general secretary. He should not have left. I repeat, if he had formed his own party, it would have been different. But joining a party which is on the other extreme of the ideological spectrum is different. How can he change his ideology overnight?
But ideology is not an issue it seems...
You are very right. Ideology is not an issue. That why people don’t trust politicians.
The crisis of confidence in Congress is happening at two levels. First, party leaders taking positions different than stated by the leadership and even quitting, and second, people continuing to lose their confidence in Congress, which is reflective in the election results.
No people had voted Congress to power in several states. We won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and performed well in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. But, I agree that Congress party needs to do a lot.
Sonia Gandhi has been interim Congress president. Do you think Congress needs a new full time president?
Yeah, definitely. According to constitution of Congress, a permanent president should be there. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that even the Congress Working Committee (CWC) members should also be elected as prescribed in the party constitution. So that the impression of inner democracy is given to the people and maintained among the workers of party.
Who should be Congress president?
It is wrong to say who should be Congress president, everybody may have different liking. For example, if you ask me I will say Priyanka Gandhi should be Congress president. But there is a party constitution, the party president should be elected as per prescribed norms.
Many in your party are rooting for the return of Rahul Gandhi as the party president.
Surely so many leaders and lots of party workers want Rahul Gandhi to return to the party president post and take charge. Some people want Sonia Gandhi to continue, some people want Priyanka Gandhi. Some people have given statement that someone outside of the Gandhi family should be the president.
Coming to the minority plank of the party. The minority community favoured Congress for decades, but now they have gone against Congress wherever they have an option. Delhi election is the latest example. You ruled here for 15 years. You had several important Muslim leaders, but the community has completely deserted Congress and sided with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Definitely. The minorities should be given adequate representation in the party in states and at the central party structure. The feeling among the minorities is that they are not getting their due representation. In Delhi, we were expecting that both the majority and the minority community would support us but 95 percent Muslims supported AAP. I don’t know whom should I blame. All over Delhi, hundreds of hoardings of Congress party was there but no Muslim face was there. The party should give due thought to it.
Why do you think Congress failed to take up challenge posed by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? As some of your party colleagues have said, the sultanate has gone but they are still behaving like sultans. That's obviously implied for the top leadership in your party. What is the way forward for Congress?
The ideology of Amit Shah and Narendra Modi is very dangerous. They will destroy the country and are destroying the country, but at the same time, I have to say that they (Modi-Shah) are 24X7 leaders. They are working all the time. They work very hard for their ideology and for their goal. If we have to fight the BJP and Modi then we have to work like them, and fight like them. Then, we can convince the people of the country to give us a chance. We are doing our best and we are not going to leave any stone unturned to fight this communal party and communal leadership.
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