Congress veteran P Chidambaram on Saturday (April 1) evening said during a panel discussion in Bengaluru that his party could stage a resounding comeback in Indian politics if its organisational structure was given a comprehensive overhaul to match what the BJP and the RSS have on the ground right now.
However, he was careful to avoid any mention of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, the top two leaders of the party, saying: "There should a collective leadership within the party, and a single person can rise to head that collective leadership." Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been blamed from within some quarters of the party for its defeat in several elections, and there have been calls for him to step down.
'Feet on the ground'
Chidambaram said the biggest strength the BJP and the RSS have now is their organisation. He said the two linked outfits have people working for them at grassroot levels, and that their reach in this day and age is comparable to that of the Congress in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
"In Tamil Nadu if there is an election, outside each polling booth will be 100 AIADMK workers, 50 DMK workers but only five Congress workers," he said as an example, adding that while the presence of the Congress at the ground level of the society was still there, it was weak and needed to be strengthened.
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The former Union minister also hinted at more people within the Congress rising to a leadership role: He talked of the need of a "collective leadership" within the party. Now, the party already has the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which ostensibly takes decisions at the highest level within the Congress. However, Chidambaram seemed to be talking of something beyond the AICC.
He also stressed on the need for a larger narrative on which the Congress could rebuild itself bottom up, and how it should counter the narrative the BJP is basing its actions on at the Centre.
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