NEW DELHI: As the exodus of senior leaders from the Indian National Congress (INC) continues and the demand for an active party chief gains ground, the party’s Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Manickam Tagore, has re-iterated his faith in the current party president, Sonia Gandhi, saying that she will guide the party in the major battles to come including the 2024 general elections.
Tagore said the party is now focusing on “organisational structuring” keeping the 2024 elections in mind. Congress faced a big defeat in the recently concluded assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Also Read: Once Neutral, China’s Recent Ties With Taliban Worry For India: Tharoor
In a candid interview with The New Indian recently, Tagore, a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), agreed that though there have been “issues” within the party, there is no question of Congress opting for a new leader.
There cannot be another president where Congress is concerned. For us, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are our leaders. We are very clear about our leadership
CWC is the highest decision making body of the Congress party. Tagore is also in charge of Telangana Congress and is considered “close” to Rahul Gandhi.
Replying to a question on Sonia Gandhi trying to bring the opposition parties together to take on the BJP government in the next elections, Tagore argued that Sonia Gandhi had been the guiding force behind the opposition unity in 2004 and 2009 as well. “She has a very good relationship with the regional parties and their trust. In fact, she was the one who brought them (other parties) together, including the Left, in 2009,” he said.
Even during the pandemic, Sonia held meetings with the opposition parties on various issues.
All those who are against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, have come together now. Therefore, I don’t see any problem in coordination.
“We ready for a long battle ahead. As of now, new presidents are being appointed in the state. At the same time, district units, block and booth-level units are being set right to prepare for the parliamentary elections,” he said, sharing the Congress re-structuring plan before 2024 elections.
In the two all opposition party meetings, held separately by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi during the Monsoon session of the Parliament, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) were conspicuous by their absence from the one hosted by Sonia Gandhi. This led to a lot of speculation among the political circuits. Tagore clears the air. “We must know that these major 19 parties control more than 65 per cent of the country’s political landscape and 70 percent of the seats. Rahulji’s meeting was different from the one hosted by Sonia Gandhi. This meeting was for parliamentary coordination. AAP joined in to share their plan. As far as Congress is concerned, we are ready to coordinate with any party that wishes to see the ouster of the Modi-Shah-RSS regime,” he said.
Speaking on the leadership exodus from the Congress, Tagore said: “The greatest strength of the Congress is the new leadership that the party provides. It is the legacy of Gandhi-Nehru leadership, the sacrifice our leaders made and the trust shared in us by the people of India. The breakaways have been the ones who are too ambitious and self invested. Ideology does not matter to these people. A true Congressman is the one who believes in the Congress ideology. We are all committed to the ideology.”
The state of the economy, rising inflation and unemployment issues have been a cause of concern for the people of the country and the opposition has been crying hoarse for the government to take note. Also Read: “I Am Full-Time President”: Sonia Gandhi At CWC; Elections For Next Congress President In Sept 2022, Say Sources
“The entire economy is in deep trouble because of complete mismanagement by the present government. The economy has been severely hit. Crores of people have lost their jobs and continue to do so while I say this. No new jobs are being created. The present regime is all set to sell out everything that the previous government painstakingly made to their select few crony capitalists friends. It is a cause of major concern for us,” he said.
On the challenges in Uttar Pradesh, where Priyanka Gandhi has been trying hard to rebuild the party, Tagore says, “As the General Secretary of AICC, she is doing an extremely difficult job.” Managing ground-level organisation is proving to be an acid-test for the Congress.
Priyanka Gandhi is trying her best to build a better organisation in the state. We hope that the results are good. The Uttar Pradesh Congress unit has also been working hard on the restructuring process so they can represent people well
The Congress has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh since 1989. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi himself had lost from his family pocket borough, Amethi. Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been trying hard to revive the party in the politically sensitive state. She has been extremely vocal and critical of the government on several issues. Recently, she even visited Lakhimpur Kheri along with her brother Rahul Gandhi and met the victim farmer families as well as the family of journalist Raman Kashyap, who died in the October 3 incident. Also Read: Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: UP Law Minister Reaches Slain BJP Workers’ Home, Gandhis at President’s