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We are reformists, not rebels, says Ghulam Nabi Azad
New Delhi, November 23, 2020
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is one of the dissenters who had questioned the party leadership and functioning, has called for elections in the party to strengthen the organisation and make it more responsible.
Dismissing allegations of rebellion levelled at the dissenters, Azad, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said "we are reformists" and "this is all for the revival of the party".
Becoming the second senior leader after former Union Minister Kapil Sibal to speak out on party affairs after the party's dismal performance in the Bihar Assembly polls, Azad said that the "Congress should shed the five-star culture, at least in elections", and insisted that leaders should hit the roads and reach out to people.
"There is no connect between the leaders and the people," he contended.
Insisting on the organisational elections which was a key demand by the "G23" group, Azad said that elections from block to state chief should be held "so that people should be more responsible and work for the party".
Azad also said that there are no issues with the first family in the Congress and gave a clean chit to interim chief Sonia Gandhi and former President Rahul Gandhi.
However, he noted that the party should be more on ground level at least during elections which is perceived a direct criticism of leaders involved in the Bihar elections.
Sibal too had raised similar concerns. Contending that he was "compelled to speak publicly" as there is "no forum in the party to discuss party issues", he said that the Congress needs efficient and senior leaders to manage elections.
His statement, coming in wake of the party's dismal performance in the Bihar Assembly polls as well as the string of bye-elections in various states, were viewed as an apparent attack on team Rahul Gandhi whose handpicked team was involved in the election process.
Sibal had also expressed unhappiness that no senior party leader had spoken on the Bihar results.
The group of 23 leaders had written a letter to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi in August, seeking a complete overhaul of the party and elections from block to the Congress Working Committee level, but came under major attack.