Three senior Congress ministers – Kamal Nath, Salman Khurshid and KV Thomas –strongly defended Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and stressed that he should continue to strengthen and democratise the party structure, an idea that Gandhi has been pursuing.
Their defence of Rahul comes a day before the Congress Working Committee meets to discuss the party’s worst-ever performance in Lok Sabha elections.
“We have a leadership that served the party well through difficult times. We shouldn’t weaken ourselves further by raising such issues at this time,” outgoing external affairs minister Salman Khurshid told HT.
His senior cabinet colleague, Kamal Nath, had told a TV news channel on Saturday, “Rahul Gandhi was at the forefront only for the last eight months. You are talking as if he has nothing to do with the performance and the achievements of the government... What logic is this?”
KV Thomas, the outgoing minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, told HT, “In last the elections too, our campaign was led by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The campaign is a collective process.”
Both Nath and Thomas pointed to the need to strengthen the party structure.
“The structure of the CWC needs to be looked at and the state organisations should get more autonomy”, Nath said.
Thomas said the party should go back to membership-based elections, which it had stopped in 1991. “The party needs to have a strong local structure based on the membership-based elections. Wherever we have a party structure, we continue to do well,” he said.