Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said that Congress leaders are completely cut off from the common people and the 'Five Star Culture' has gone home in the party. He called for radical changes in the organizational structure.
His statement came to light after the Congress' defeat in the Bihar Assembly elections. The party contested 70 assembly seats in this election, out of which it could win only 19 seats.
Azad said that there is an urgent need for radical changes in the party structure by holding elections from the block to the district and state levels. He said that Congress leaders should give up the five-star culture at least during elections. Azad said that he was 'raising issues as reformists, not as rebels.'
Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23 leaders who wrote letters for organizational change in the Congress, said in an interview that 'he had written a letter within the party asking them to create awareness if the party's ideology is getting weaker'. He said that 'it is only the ideology of the Congress that will keep the nation united'.
Azad said that 'In this vast and diverse country, the ideology of Congress, which is the ideology of Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, and Maulana Azad, will keep the nation united. The ideology of the Congress can keep the country united as it does not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, and class. All are equal for us.
Answering questions, he said that 'when we write within the Congress, we make them aware that our ideology is getting weaker.' In the letter written by him, 23 leaders called for full-time and effective leadership and the election of the Congress Working Committee. There have been renewed calls for concrete action by the party in view of its dismal performance in Bihar assembly elections and by-elections in 11 states.
The Congress leader said that 'we want to make them aware that the parts of the machine that are running this ideology are getting rusty or getting loose. Where there is rust, it is time to replace them and tighten them where they are loose. '
Azad said that 'we work like a mechanic who tells the driver to remove the parts which have rusted. We are not asking the driver to leave and let himself drive. '
Party leaders should abandon the five-star culture
He said that there is a huge gap between people and Congress leaders at the district, block, and state levels. The party's involvement with the public should be a continuous process, not just during elections. '
He said that 'Congress leaders should give up the five-star culture. At least during elections, they should avoid this culture and live among the people in the area. '
Talking for the first time after the party's poor performance in the Bihar elections, Azad said that leaders should visit the state with state leaders and not just stay in five-star hotels and return.
He said that 'every leader should have knowledge of each assembly constituency. Only going from Delhi and staying in five-star hotels and returning to Delhi after two-three days is nothing but a waste of money. '
The former Union Minister advocated holding elections for all posts in the state, district and block units of the Congress. He said that 'we should elect PCC, DCC, and BCC, and a program is very important for the party in this regard'.
Azad said that he along with other Congress leaders is raising these issues in the interest of the party. He said, "We are reformists, not rebels." We are not against the leadership. Rather, we are strengthening the hands of leadership by proposing reforms. '
Azad did not hold the top leadership of the party responsible for the defeat in the election but said there was no contact between the leaders and the people. Azad was among the 23 leaders who wrote a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in August demanding elections for key positions and organizational changes in the party.
No rebellion in the congress party
There is no rebellion in the Congress party. Rebellion means to replace someone. There is no other candidate for the post of party president. This is not a rebellion. Our voice is for reforms.