Congress needs to think beyond the Gandhis, senior party leader Anand Sharma told NDTV today, as the leadership question has been thrown wide open after Rahul Gandhi reiterated his negative to the party’s top post this weekend. Mr Shama, who resigned from a key party post after Ghulam Nabi Azad, stated that it was a number of leaders who had kept the party afloat after Indira Gandhi was ousted in 1978. “They were people like us… This party belongs to all of us,” he said.
There was no reason why the list should be limited to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said. “Is Congress limited to just these two names? Are we not making fun of the Congress party’s history,” he added.
One of the 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi two years ago demanding organizational changes, Mr Sharma said: “As long as the letter is there, we will remain viable. We are not rebels, we are reformists. To ask for the (party ) constitution, is it a crime?”
Prior to the parliamentary elections in Himachal Pradesh, Mr Sharma resigned as head of the “steering committee” of the Himachal Pradesh party unit. Sources said in a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi that he felt left out of the party’s decisions ahead of the polls and that his self-esteem is “non-negotiable”.
“I reiterate that I am a lifelong congressman and stand firm by my beliefs… given the continued exclusion and insults, as a self-respecting person, I had no choice,” Sharma posted on Twitter earlier today, announcing his resignation. .
The crisis follows the uprising of a group of leaders led by Ghulam Nabi Azad in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Azad had stepped down from the polling station set up for Jammu and Kashmir, where elections are also to be held, at the time the Congress had scheduled a review.
With a series of elections this year and next and the general election in 2024, the party was expected to seize this opportunity to get into shape. Congressional performance declined with each election. The prescription of the G-23 and several other leaders had been a full-time leader who would be responsible.
Sharma said he hoped the message was received by the party leadership. “I hope it records for her what’s happening,” he said.