Jairam Ramesh says Congress must ruthlessly reinvent itself or face prospect of becoming irrelevant


New Delhi: Calling the Congress’ poll debacle in Delhi an “unmitigated disaster like coronavirus”, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh has said it must “ruthlessly” reinvent itself or face the prospect of becoming irrelevant.

The note of caution for the Congress by Ramesh, a former union minister known for his outspoken views, came close on the heels of a call by fellow party leader M Veerappa Moily for a “surgical” action to revive the party.

“Congress leaders have to reinvent themselves. Congress party has to reinvent itself if it has to be relevant,” Ramesh, 65, said.

“Otherwise, we are staring at irrelevance. Our arrogance has to go, even after six years out of power sometimes, some of us behave as if we are still ministers.” In Ramesh’s view, local level leaders have to be encouraged and nurtured and be given freedom and autonomy.

“The substance and style of our leadership has to change,” said the Rajya Sabha MP who is here to participate in the ongoing Krithi International Book Fair organised by a society controlled by the Kerala government.

On the Delhi Assembly poll outcome, Ramesh alleged that the BJP utilised the anti-CAA protests at its epicentre in Delhi in Shaheen Bagh to “polarise” votes.

“In the short run BJP has not won but the result is a disaster for the Congress party also.

“It is an unmitigated disaster like coronavirus for the Congress,” he said. The Congress drew a blank while the BJP bagged 8 seats. The AAP scored a landslide victory bagging 62 seats.

The Congress leader claimed the Delhi election result was a rejection of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s style of politics.

“It is a resounding slap on his face and it is a rejection of the language used in the campaign, tactics used in the campaign,” Ramesh said.

Ramesh also said the party was virtually non-existent in Bihar and almost extinct in Uttar Pradesh but added it was strong in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and has staged a comeback in Haryana.

Moily on Wednesday said the focus for the Congress should be now on reviving, rebuilding and rejuvenating the party.

“The Congress requires total rejuvenation. You can’t point (fingers at) out one or two leaders (for electoral setbacks), accountability will have to be taken by every Congressman...rank and file,” Moily said.

“Now, this is the time to act for rejuvenation of the party. It has to be revamped. Surgical action will have to be taken so that it starts yielding the results,” he added.

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