New Delhi, October 1
With P Chidambaram expressing helplessness over lack of “meaningful conversations” within the Congress, party colleague Salman Khurshid on Friday said he had hoped the discussions the former finance minister speaks of might have been led by him and called for a dialogue between the leaders of the party.
In an apparent swipe at the ‘Group of 23’ leaders and Kapil Sibal’s remarks questioning the party’s functioning amid a raging feud in the Congress, Khurshid, known to be close to the Gandhi family, said questioning time tested leadership style and substance in isolation from the popular prevailing opinion of ground-level workers, despite strong opinion amongst sundry leaders, is “very worrying”.
Weighing in on the internal bickering within the Congress following Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation as the party’s Punjab unit chief, Khurshid, in a long Facebook post, said just “as we saw” a ray of hope in the appointment of the new chief minister of Punjab “things tumbled out of control”.
“The new order astutely carved out of the crisis of confidence at several levels was challenged from within before the bonhomie pictures had become dated in terms of hours, not days. We continue to hope and pray that the disagreements will settle down in the interest of the party that deserves to win another term,” he said, referring to the developments in Punjab.
The former Union minister also expressed his views over the protests outside Sibal’s house after he demanded that an immediate meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) be convened and wondered who in the party was taking decisions in the absence of a full-time president.
In his post, Khurshid singled out Chidambaram’s tweet in which he had expressed hurt and helplessness over the protests outside Sibal’s house.
“I feel helpless when we cannot start meaningful conversations within party forums. I also feel hurt and helpless when I see pictures of Congress workers raising slogans outside the residence of a colleague and MP,” Chidambaram tweeted on Thursday.
The safe harbour to which one can withdraw seems to be silence, he had said.
One cannot escape noting the sadness and helplessness of the tweet by Chidambaram, not one to be at a loss for ideas and expression in the toughest of situations, Khurshid said.
“I had indeed hoped that the conversations he speaks of might have been led by him. Be that as it may, and without giving up on hope, one has to empathise with his rejection of the manner of protests that greeted some statements that the protesters found unsavoury. But to forgive my reiteration, once again it is a matter of pigeons coming home to roost,” Khurshid said.
“Good or bad, over the past we have encouraged or condoned certain conduct today being described as hooliganism as opposed to sycophantic conduct,” he said.
“But of course Mr Chidambaram let us all talk, not just talk but talk with each other,” Khurshid added.
Addressing Chidambaram, Khurshid said it would not serve to seek silence and certainly not by someone with eloquence and intellect like yours.
“However, it would be fair that we speak with the young workers who expressed their ire in a manner seemingly unbecoming, but as I said, frequently condoned or encouraged when we were not the targets,” he said.
Khurshid said curiously the prevailing norm in national politics seems to be that unless such demonstration of disquiet is publicly expressed political entities are dismissed as ineffective and invisible.
“If we are concerned about fixing decision making in our party we can surely fix communications with ordinary workers. They are the ones who have made us what we are. Without them we are just names. Perhaps they will, if encouraged to speak up, tell us that we are the mistakes. In other words, there may be a lot to say about others in the party but perhaps we need to reflect on ourselves a bit as well,” he said.
In this moment of “trial and tribulation”, Khurshid said, Congress leaders’ paramount obligation is to restore faith in ourselves and each other.
“Our leaders have led us from the front and for decades together ensured that we have the comfort of being in power. They believe that they get their strength and power from the thousands of workers and ordinary folk. Today they face the crisis with confidence because at the end of the day it is the workers’ devotion that sustains them,” he said.
Congress is a way of life and a matter of faith for millions of workers, he said.
“If there is a sense amongst some people that the way of life should change they must account for those who do not wish to leave the path shown to them by their ancestors. We hope to find the end of the rainbow along this very road. What conversation can we have with those who cannot see the colours of the rainbow anymore,” Khurshid said. — PTI
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