Amidst raging speculation about the elevation of Rahul Gandhi to the post of party president, Congress party has officially admitted that the decision will be taken very soon. In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV’s Vishal Dahiya , head of congress party’s communication department Randeep Surjewala said the issue of leadership change has been deliberated upon and Rahul Gandhi will soon be seen leading the party.
Q: Several leaders have quit the party in the recent part. Exodus seems to be gaining pace. What do you think is the reason behind this?
A: There is no exodus from the party. Gurudas Kamat is very much part of the congress family. He has resigned as General Secretary of AICC and not from the party. About the rest I must say that political opportunism sometimes overtakes party interest. Ajit Jogi has chosen his path… after his son’s expulsion it was written on the wall.
A: Quest for power and personal ambitions sometime become more imp for an individual than the ideology and then such people move out. Party would be benefited by their exit.
Q: Twin power centre theory is being said to be the reason behind the confusion in the party ranks. Would you agree that this has done a lot of damage?
A: We have the wisdom and experience of senior leaders and youthful vigour and it has worked well for the party. Crores of workers now want Rahul to take over.
Q: Isn’t this contradictory? If the combo is working well then why elevate Rahul ?
A: Sonia is head of the Congress family and will continue to be so. But this does not mean party cannot have the transition to a younger leader.
Q: How long will this transition period last? If the baton has to be handed to Rahul then why not do it now?
A: Congress has always evolved with time and attuned itself with change. As far as Rahul and next line of leadership is concerned I can say this issue has been deliberated upon with great caution with several thousand of party leaders. Its not a decision of few people or just Sonia and Rahul…and very soon an appropriate call will be taken.
Q: How soon is that likely to happen?
A: I assure you that Rahul gandhi will be seen in the days to come in a frontal role leading the party.
Q: What kind of changes can be expected when Rahul takes over, specifically with respect to senior leaders?
A: To say that senior leaders will be retired is completely wrong. Rahul never wants to wish away the wisdom and experience of seniors. Youngsters have been given a chance at several levels and Rahul is likely to continue with the same task. He also believes that professionals also need to be brought in the main stream of politics. Congress and Rahul don’t mean to disrespect anyone and there is no easing out of seniors happening.
A: Modi government’s two years in powers is all about rhetoric and event management. Modi ji has given a speech every 45 minutes in last two years and I don’t know if any PM can afford this given the enormous responsibilities. Agriculture sector has been overlooked and so is manufacturing, exports…There is a gloom in economy so where are the ‘achhe din’?
Q: BJP lies the blame at your door for opposing reforms like GST…
A: If GST is the only magic wand to turn the economy around then the blame first lies with them for having opposed GST when UPA was in power. GST is our baby and we only want a constitutional cap of 18 percent tax.
Q: The issue of Jat reservation is once again in focus in your home state. What is your party’s stand on the issue?
A: To promote their idea of dividing the polity of Haryana on cast lines BJP did not defend in courts the UPA’s decision of giving reservation to the Jats. BJP is in power in the state and law and order is their responsibility… if they can’t do it then they should hand over the power to us.
Q: Congress party is in a tight spot in Karnataka and Haryana over RS polls…
A: No body from congress is part of that sting but why single out Karnataka only…BJP is trying to win a seat in MP , Rajasthan and Haryana …Why are they not being questioned for facilitating defections…Congress has not taken a final call yet on whom to support in Haryana.
You can catch this exclusive interview with Randeep Surjewala on Rajya Sabha TV at 10 PM tonight and then 10.30 AM, 1 PM and 5.30 PM on Thursday