By Sreeparna Chakrabarty
New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) It is an inspired and an aggressive Congress party that has attacked the Narendra Modi government as it crossed the one year mark and a rejuvenated Rahul Gandhi is not the only leader they are banking on. From former prime minister Manmohan Singh to ex-union ministers P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony, India’s grand old party has roped in a majority of its senior leaders to target the government in “cumulative” fashion.
“The entire senior leadership is working along with (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi and (vice president) Rahul Gandhi. The leadership is cumulative. This is in stark contrast to the BJP where only (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi calls the shots,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told IANS.
“It is heartening to see how the entire leadership has come out.”
For a party used to the high command culture, the Congress has certainly democratized its look.
In a slew of press conferences attacking the performance of the government in the past one year, Congress fielded an array of senior leaders, including party leaders in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad and former finance minister Chidambaram.
Even former defence minister Antony, an otherwise reticent speaker, addressed a press conference on the recently-inked Rafale deal.
At a National Student’s Union of India (NSUI) programme in the capital, former prime minister Manmohan Singh not only defended himself against allegations of corruption but also attacked the Modi government full throttle.
More recently, at a conclave of chief ministers from Congress-ruled states, Manmohan Singh again took on the government calling Modi an “adept” salesman who is recycling UPA schemes and policies.
Surjewala said that when the Modi government completed one year, the Congress party addressed 101 press conferences across the country and almost the entire senior leadership, including former union ministers addressed the media.
“Many leaders are writing in newspapers and chipping in from all directions. Even state PCC chiefs are doing their bit,” Surjewala said.
Political analyst and senior journalist H.K. Dua told IANS the top leadership of the party seems to have taken a “conscious” and “well-designed” decision to work collectively and “rightly so”.
Dua, a former MP, said the Congress seems to have “got its act together” after being in the wilderness for some months after the massive drubbing in last year’s general elections.
The Congress was reduced to its worst-ever tally of 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Dua said while at the centre, the Congress leadership has managed to address some concerns and made efforts to keep the party relevant, “now they need to replicate this in their faction ridden state Congress units”.
“At the centre, more and more people are active, similar efforts should be made in the faction-ridden state units,” he added.
(Sreeparna Chakrabarty can be contacted at [email protected])