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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

It won't be business as usual within Congress: Tharoor

PTI  New Delhi, July 23, 2014
First Published: 14:54 IST(23/7/2014) | Last Updated: 14:56 IST(23/7/2014)

It won't be "business as usual" in the Congress after the severe drubbing in the elections and party president Sonia Gandhi would soon fix accountability and take decisions on revamping the party, former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said on Wednesday.

The decisions will be taken as per her own analysis and that of the A K Antony Committee report, he said.

Tharoor, who is also a Congress spokesperson, said only Sonia would be able to steer the party out of this crisis as she has seen two election losses in a row and two consecutive wins under her command.

Asked if it meant that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi would be taking a back seat, the two-time MP from Kerala told PTI in an interview, "Rahul has his own leadership role and will of course be supporting her.

He was not the vice president when the party lost those elections and also won consecutively and hence I mentioned Sonia." His comments came amid a feeling in a section of the party that Sonia, who was perceived to be slowly handing over the charge to Rahul, should continue to be at the forefront.

Asked about perception outside the party that it seems to be business as usual within the Congress despite the historical loss of being reduced to just 44 MPs in Lok Sabha as no accountability has been fixed or changes carried out, he said Sonia has herself met a number of party leaders and workers to form her opinion about why the party performed so badly.

"She has got her impression which will be added to what Antony Committee has concluded," he said, stressing that it won't be "business as usual" in the party which has set up a committee headed by Antony to study the reasons for the poor performance in the elections.

Tharoor said the party was already learning new ways to deal with the situation arising out of the small tally in Lok Sabha, besides making adjustments.

On criticism of Rahul not being an out and out politician, he said, "Rahul may not be a conventional politician but he is a grassroots politician." Tharoor admitted that he would have personally liked to see Rahul as the Leader of the Party in Lok Sabha. "But he has decided that he will be more useful outside in the organisation. He was off to Badaun to condemn the rape and murder of the two girls.

"He is a young man who believes the party has an equally important role in the villages and the streets of India and not just in Parliament. He has a strong sense of what to do".

He argued that Rahul is not the one to run after positions or designations and is focused on strengthening the party.

Asked about open dissent within the party in Maharashtra and Assam, he said the high command was looking into the issues.

"These seem to be issues of unfulfilled personal ambitions," Tharoor said.


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