Ghulam Nabi Azad, who quit the Congress last week, today said the party’s top decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee, is “meaningless” today.
He also slammed what he called “Rahul Gandhi’s policy of attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi left, right and centre.”
“The present CWC is meaningless. Under Sonia Gandhi, there was only the CWC. But in the last 10 years, there have been 25 CWC members and 50 special invitees,” Mr Azad told NDTV.
The former Union Minister said Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi to a large extent believed in consultative politics. But that was destroyed under Rahul Gandhi, he said.
“Sonia Gandhi, let us be fair, between 1998 and 2004, was totally consulting senior leaders. She was depending on them, accepting recommendations. She gave me eight states, I won seven. She did not interfere. But after Rahul Gandhi came, from 2004 Mrs Gandhi started depending more on Rahul Gandhi. He had no aptitude of doing that. She wanted everybody to coordinate with Rahul Gandhi,” Mr Azad said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, one of the Congress’s tallest leaders, quit the party with a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi, blasting him for “childish behaviour”, “glaring immaturity” and for letting a “coterie of inexperienced sycophants” run the party. In a five-page resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, he blamed her son Rahul for the Congress’s defeat in the 2014 national election – a turning point for the party that has been struggling to win elections since.
Mr Azad shared what is believed to be a key breaking point between the Congress’s old guard and Rahul Gandhi – his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” slogan in the 2019 election, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
No senior leader backed the campaign, Mr Azad said, revealing that Rahul Gandhi had asked for a show of hands at a party meeting on who supported his slogan and many veterans had shown their disagreement.
“Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, P Chidambaram and I were there,” he said.
“We got our political educaiton under Indira Gandhi. While I was junior minister, she called ML Fotedar and me and said we should keep meeting Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Our education was that we should respect our elders and give equal respect to opposition leaders. We were not told to attack senior leaders? His policy is to attack Modi right, left and centre. We can’t go personal like this?
Is this the language senior cabinet ministers should use?”
Mr Azad insisted that he held no personal grudges against Rahul Gandhi.
“Personally I have no grudge. He is a nice man. But as a politician, he doesn’t have the aptitude… He doesn’t have the aptitude for hard work,” he said.