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There is leadership crisis in Congress: Amartya

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, December 20, 2013
First Published: 17:28 IST(20/12/2013) | Last Updated: 17:34 IST(20/12/2013)

The electoral reverses the Congress faced in the four states might be attributed to leadership crisis and its inability to deliver what it promised, remarked Amartya Sen in Kolkata.

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"If you (read, the Congress) want to do well in elections, you have to come forward and state who is your leader. It has to be said out loud," said the 80-year old economist to a television channel just outside the Kolkata airport on Friday.

"There is a crisis of leadership in the party," Sen said without naming anybody specifically. Though Sen's reply was to a question related to the debacle for the Congress, his remarks appeared equally appropriate for the impending Lok Sabha polls.

"It is said they are about to decide who their leader is going to be, but it hasn't yet been decided," he added.

The Nobel laureate economist has often been seen supporting the Congress' policies, especially social sector programmes such as education, health, sanitation as opposed to the BJP's.

"It has to be said out loud who is the leader and what is his position. It is impossible to provide leadership without stepping forward before the people," said the economist.

"There is reason to believe that there is hatred against the party," Sen added.

Sen's comment is targeted at the delay of the party in naming its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Though the Bharatiya Janata Party has named Narendra Modi as its candidate for the prime minister, the Congress has so far refused to do so.

However, it is widely believed Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, will be the party's candidate.

The party president, Sonia Gandhi, has merely said the party will name its candidate at the right moment.

Sen has often publicly supported the policies of the Congress. In July a spat between Sen and another noted economist from India, professor Jagdish Bhagwati, made headlines and immediately got converted into a Modi-versus-Congress debate.

While Sen said India needed more investments in the social infrastructure (roughly the Congress line), Bhagwati argued a focus on growth can unlock more resources for social sector schemes (the BJP line).

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