Jairam Ramesh
Jairam Ramesh Image Credit: Supplied

New Delhi: After it suffered a severe drubbing in the recent Delhi assembly polls, several Congress leaders have started to speak against the policies of the grand old party while questioning the “leadership at the helm.”

Terming the defeat in the Delhi election as “unfortunate”, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the party was in a crisis and needed a complete overhauling of its policies.

“The country is changing. Likewise, the thought process of the people is changing. Congress too has to change radically,” Scindia told Gulf News.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the polls, bagging 62 of the 70 seats. While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won eight seats, Congress scored a zero. Congress could not win a single seat even in the 2015 Delhi polls.

Reacting to the party’s back-to-back duck score, Scindia said there was an urgent need for the party to adopt a fresh and innovative approach in order to be able to reach out to the masses.

Jyotiraditya Scindia
Jyotiraditya Scindia

Interestingly, Scindia had recently tweeted in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government for its decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

On Friday, Scindia indicated that not everything was right between him and Congress. He even attacked his own party’s government in Madhya Pradesh on the issues of loan waiver, survey for flood relief and electricity cuts.

Jairam Ramesh voices concern

Similarly, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also voiced concern over the party’s debacle in Delhi election.

He said Congress required to “ruthlessly” reinvent itself or face the possibility of becoming irrelevant.

“Congress leaders have to reinvent themselves. The party has to reinvent itself if it has to be relevant. Otherwise, we are staring at irrelevance. Our arrogance has to go, even after six years out of power sometimes, some of us behave as if we are still ministers,” he said.

Referring to the leadership issue in the party, Ramesh said the local leaders needed encouragement to work harder for the party.

“The local level leaders of the Congress need to be nurtured. They have to be given freedom and autonomy. The substance and style of our leadership has to change,” he said.

Referring to the crisis the party was facing in some states, Ramesh said, “we are virtually non-existent in Bihar, we are almost extinct in Uttar Pradesh but we are strong in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Haryana we have come back. We need to do much more to regain strength in other places.”

Time for action

Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Congress needed to find an alternative to late Sheila Dikshit, a three-term CM who ruled Delhi between 1998 and 2013.

“The party has to find another formidable face after Sheila Dikshit. And it has to back him or her for next four years starting right away,” Singhvi told Gulf News.

Disagreeing with many, President of Congress Women’s Wing in Delhi Sharmistha Mukherjee said the time for introspection was over.

“We were again decimated in Delhi. Enough of introspection now, it is time for action. Being part of the system, I too take my share of responsibility,” Mukherjee told Gulf News.

Listing the reasons for Congress’ poor performance in Delhi election, she blamed the top leadership for the losses. “There were inordinate delays in decision-making at the top, and lack of strategy and unity at state level. Our workers were demotivated, there was no grass roots connect,” Mukherjee added.

Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill also criticised the party for its steady score of zero in Delhi elections.

“The Congress party must avoid justifying the defeat in Delhi election. We have to work on what went wrong. We should also stop finding happiness in BJP’s loss,” he told Gulf News.