Former Congressman Natwar Singh has spoken his mind on the state of the Congress party, as it makes news for internal rifts such as the one playing out in Punjab recently.
“It’s in very poor shape,” Singh told a media outlet, and indicted the Gandhi family “that’s calling the shots” for the state of affairs in the party unit.
Speaking at length about the Congress, whose fortunes have only dipped since it lost power at the Centre in 2014, and as the crisis in its Punjab unit becomes fodder for media, he asked: “What sort of Congress party do you have now? The Congress he (former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh) joined is quite different from what it is now. It’s in very poor shape. I don’t know whether he will leave the Congress, but the fact of the matter is that at one point, the Congress was one of the greatest democratic parties in the world. Today, it’s in a pathetic state.”
Amarinder, after being removed as CM of Punjab, recently met Union minister and BJP leader Amit Shah, sparking speculation that he was on the way out of the Grand Old Party.
Singh, a former Union minister and brother-in-law of Amarinder, when asked whether he held the Gandhis accountable for the Congress’ troubles, told News18: “Yes, I do. Who else is calling the shots? Ghulam Nabi Azad is not, AK Antony is not. Nobody in the working committee is. It’s the family that’s calling the shots.”
“The Gandhis won’t allow the change to take place. The trio won’t allow anybody,” he said, pointing to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, de facto chief Rahul and his sister Priyanka.
The party, he said, needed young blood. “Rahul Gandhi has been functioning in the Congress party since 2002. He has been an MP since then. He is over 50 years old. His sister is slightly younger than him. They aren’t young people. They are knocking on the doors of middle-age. What the Congress needs is a much younger people,” he told the media outlet.
On Amarinder Singh quitting as CM, Singh said it was “the Congress party’s loss. Who do they have as his replacement?”
“It is absolutely shocking. Here’s one of the senior-most CMs of India. He has been a CM for nine-and-a-half years. He has done good work and without any explanation, you decide to have the meeting of the Pradesh Congress Committee in the middle of the night and don’t inform him. What choice did he have? Any self-respecting person would resign,” Singh said.