Factionalism had affected the party in the past, says Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar
In an interview to HT, Tanwar says there were clear directions from the Congress leadership that the factionalism should not take away the focus from Rahul Gandhi’s Jan Aakrosh rally in Delhi on Sunday and hence there was no war of headgears this time.Updated: May 04, 2018 07:58 IST
Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar admits factionalism has taken a toll on the party in the state and that he has been a victim of groupism. In an interview to Hindustan Times, Tanwar says there were clear directions from the Congress leadership that the factionalism should not take away the focus from Rahul Gandhi’s Jan Aakrosh rally in Delhi on Sunday and hence there was no war of headgears this time.
Unlike in the past, we didn’t see any show of strength or war of headgears between your supporters and those belonging to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s camp at Sunday’s Jan Aakrosh rally at Ramlila Maidan?
There were clear directives from the central leadership that this time there should be no pink or red headgears from Haryana. I was from the beginning not in favour of such things. But then there is always a reaction to every action. Some people believed in such a show of strength but the majority had expressed strong resentment. I admit that this factionalism had affected and shifted the focus from such party rallies in the past. I am thankful to the Congress workers and the party leadership from Haryana for overwhelming participation in the rally. We were given a target of 50,000 workers but we surpassed that figure with a huge margin.
How do you plan to address the growing factionalism in Haryana Congress when the assembly elections are nearly a year-and-a-half away?
I have a strong organisational background, heading NSUI and the Youth Congress. In my political career, I have always opposed groupism. But after I took over as Haryana Congress president, I myself became a victim of factionalism. Unfortunately on many occasions, the differences have come out in the open. I am neither heading nor a part of any group. My only aim is to strengthen the Congress in Haryana and for that I will reach out to all the sections and try to address the grievances of senior leaders, including my opponents. I am very keen to put an end to the bitterness of the past four years. This (Jan Aakrosh) rally has brought about a positive change and a strong message has gone among the people and political circles in Haryana.
Will you try to seek rapprochement with Hooda to put up a united show in next elections?
I don’t have enmity with anyone. I want to take along all the leaders in our fight for the rights of the people. There was some bad blood, especially after the murderous assault on me in October 2016. But when we see the problems of other people, we forget our own sufferings. I have moved on and forgotten all my pain in the larger interest of the party.
Do you think the Congress should declare its CM face in Haryana and clear the confusion on the leadership issue?
Our first priority is to throw out the corrupt BJP government and give relief to all sections of the society. Who will lead the next Congress government is a decision to be taken by the party high command. As per its tradition, the Congress does not declare its chief ministerial candidate before the elections. It is important that all of us have to fight the elections unitedly and ensure that Congress comes back to power. All other issues are secondary.
What will be your key talking points in polls?
There is widespread resentment against the BJP government. Apart from rampant corruption, we see mis-governance, law and order has deteriorated, the incidents of rapes have increased, there have been attacks on Dalits, minorities and women. BJP stands completely exposed in Haryana. The Khattar government will be the first and last BJP government in Haryana and similarly the Modi government will be the last BJP rule at the national level.