The Congress is presently passing through a critical situation, Jyotiraditya Scindia said (File)
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday called party president Rahul Gandhi's resignation an unimaginable development, adding that a leader who can re-energize the grand old party should be chosen as his replacement. Mr Scindia, who resigned as general secretary last week, said the new president of the party should be decided soon.
"Already seven weeks have passed, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) needs to decide the next president of the party," he said.
The Congress won only 52 of 543 Lok Sabha seats in the May election. Taking responsibility for the loss, Rahul Gandhi quit as party president on May 25. A spate of resignations by local leaders followed when it became clear that he was not about to revise his decision.
A poster demanding that Mr Scindia be appointed as the Congress president had recently come up outside the Madhya Pradesh Congress headquarters in Bhopal, causing a flutter in the party ranks. He, however, said he was not in the race.
"The party is presently passing through a critical situation. Congress needs to revive and reinvent itself before going back to people again for winning their confidence. I think that moment has arrived," he said.
"I never bat on the back-foot, but always bat on front foot. We respect the people's verdict. The party as well as individual leaders like me need to identify the shortcomings, correct them and then go before the people to win their confidence again. Be it me or others, we can't deny that there were shortcomings which led to the results," he added.
While steering clear of the question if leaders aged over 70 should be given roles of mentor and the party should be run by young leaders, Mr Scindia said the focus should be on capabilities rather than age.
"I'm not Modiji, don't divide the country's population into old and young. The need is to focus on individual capabilities instead on age. But with the passage of time, the change needs to happen. There will even be a time, when I'll have to go," he said.
Amid the growing political crisis in Karnataka and split in the Congress in Goa, Mr Scindia visited Bhopal on Thursday – first time since the party's and his own defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
"It's long been part and parcel of the BJP's politics to get to power through the back door after failing to win power from the front door. They've been doing so in MP for six months, but I want to tell them, their dream of toppling our government in MP will always remain Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne (dreams).
The Madhya Pradesh ministers considered close to Mr Scindia are reportedly unhappy with the team of bureaucrats given to them. Due to the issue, there was a war or words between his loyalists and those loyal to Chief Minister Kamal Nath at a recent state cabinet meeting.
Mr Scindia downplayed the incident.
"The bureaucracy and ministers need to work in tandem rather than trying to dominate each other. Bureaucracy can give new ideas and innovate, but final decision has to be taken by ministers. Let me be clear that no one (bureaucracy or ministers), even including the Chief Minister is above anyone, but need to work with a team spirit," he said.
"Do you want in MP a government which is like the Modi regime, where no one else except the PM is allowed to speak. Individuals speaking in differing voices happen in every family, as every member wants justice, respect and individual voice to be heard. It's a healthy tradition which strengthens democratic character and shouldn't be misconstrued as any kind of division. We're all united," he added.
Mr Scindia, 48, a former parliamentarian from Guna, after his arrival in Bhopal, went straight to the state assembly and saw the proceedings of the House from the visitor's gallery.
He addressed a press conference later. The BJP, however, took strong exception to his media interaction, alleging it was a violation of constitutional norms.
"Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is trying to make the assembly a political arena by violating norms. He is not a member of the Vidhan Sabha nor any constitutional post. Still, he addressed a press conference in the assembly violating prohibitory orders. This is a violation of the constitution," BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari said.
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