Ghulam Nabi Azad has again pitched for elections to the Congress Working Committee and key organisational posts of states chiefs, district presidents and block presidents.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has launched a scathing attack on his own party leaders days after a letter by 23 leaders pushed the party into turmoil. Speaking to news agency ANI, Azad said that the Congress will continue to sit in opposition for the next 50 years if party elections don’t happen.
Azad, one of the signatories of the dissent letter, again pitched for elections to the Congress Working Committee and key organisational posts of states chiefs, district presidents and block presidents. He said that those opposing elections are afraid of losing their positions. He said that the prospects of the party will be better if the elected bodies lead the party, otherwise “Congress will continue to sit in the opposition for the next 50 years.”
“When you contest the election at least 51% is with you and you contest the election against only 2 to 3 people within the party. A person who will get 51% of votes will be elected. Others will get 10 or 15% votes. The person who wins and gets in charge of the post of party president, means that 51% people are with him,” he said.
“The election has the benefit that when you fight elections, at least your party is 51% behind you,” Azad, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said. He said that persons securing second, third or fourth position, will work hard to strengthen the party and will win next time. “But, the president who is appointed now does not have even the support of 1% of party workers,” he said.
Azad’s comments came three days after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) passed a resolution wherein it requested Sonia Gandhi to continue to head the party until a preliminary meeting of the AICC is convened to elect a new president.
The Congress party has not held internal elections to the Congress Working Committee for nearly 20 years and last elections were held in 1998. The CWC is the highest-decision making in the party.
“We even do not know whether such persons have the support of 1% or 100%. There are many who do not have even 1% support. This happens in the state, district, CWC elections for party leadership. An appointed person can be removed but an elected person can not be removed. What is wrong with this,” he said.
Azad strongly criticised leaders who are opposing the elections, saying, “Those office-bearers or state unit presidents or block district presidents who attack our proposal know that they will be nowhere when elections happen. Whoever is genuinely invested in the Congress will welcome the letter. I have said that the state, district and block president of the party should be elected by the party workers.”
Azad said that for the last many decades, “we do not have elected bodies in the party” and suggested that “we should have pushed for it 10-15 years ago”.
“Now we are losing elections after elections, and if we have to come back we need to strengthen our party by holding elections,” he said.
“If my party wants to be in opposition for the next 50 years, then there is no need for elections within the party,” the 71-year-old politician said.
Azad mentioned that his sole purpose is to make Congress “active” and “strong”. “What is the harm in having elected CWC members who will have fixed tenures in the party,” the Congress asked.
“Anyone who has a genuine interest in the internal working dynamics of Congress would welcome our proposal to have every state and district president as being elected. The entire Congress Working Committee should be elected,” Azad said.
“As a true congressman, I want elections within the party for the betterment of the party,” he said while rubbishing reports that he has no personal ambitions.