‘What Nitishji has done in the past is past now’

Q: What are challenges ahead of you after being elevated to the position of general secretary in the party organisation?
A: The party leadership has reposed a lot of faith in me and so has given an important assignment in the organisation to deal with.
Like any other general secretary of the party, I will try my best to establish and rejuvenate the organisations in all the states and Union Territory (UT), which are allotted me. These include Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and UT of Chandigarh.
Q; Have you identified specific challenges which need your special attention in each of the states?
A: Frankly speaking, at the moment no, as I have just taken over a few days back. Since all the states which are under me are so near to the national capital, party workers are coming to meet in hoards and thus currently only courtesy meetings are on. Once this gets over, I will sit with the leaders and discuss issues with them. Since Delhi is going to polls later this year, my first priority would be the city-state.
Q: Don’t you think that for you it would be difficult to bring back to order the faction-ridden Delhi PCC?
A: I don’t believe in factionalism, as general secretaries and secretaries are appointed from outside state because they should not have their vested interest. Party interest is more important for us than anything else.
Factionalism in Delhi Congress is just a matter of perception, as different leaders have different views on different issues does not mean that they are fighting.
If there exist difference of opinion or communication gap among leaders, I will try to play the bridging role.
However, I must accept that Delhi would a big challenge for me, as elections are round the corner (November 2013). But the Congress government under the able leadership of Shiela Dikshitji has done tremendous work in last 15 years and that is the reason why people elected the Congress time and again.
Q: How do you assess the national impact of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to come out of NDA?
A: We have supported the Nitish Kumar government in the Bihar Assembly, as he has come out of the NDA.
We think that the NDA for sure is shrinking and it is good for the country, as this alliance is detrimental for the unity of the country.
We want to weaken the communal forces and Mr Kumar has done exactly that. What Nitishji has done in the past is the past. Now he is fighting against communal forces and a secular party like the Congress feels duty-bound to support anybody or any party which is fighting such political elements.
Q: With your praise for Mr Kumar, does it mean that the Congress will have no truck with your erstwhile ally RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar? Which way will the Congress go now?
A: There is committee constituted under senior party leader A.K. Antony to deal with the issue of future alliances. I think the committee in consultation with AICC general secretary in-charge of Bihar C.P. Joshi will deliberate on the issue relating to alliance in the state. The party high command will then take a final decision based on the recommendation of the Antony Committee.
Q: With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcing that the UPA will go for next Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, do you think the 2014 polls would be centred around Rahul Vs Modi?
A: I find the proposition ridiculous. In India, we do not have a presidential form of government, where individuals stand for the elections and people are given chance to elect between the two.
In parliamentary system, elections are fought at constituency level and in most cases multi-cornered contests take place. In this kind of elections, both at the Lok Sabha level and Assembly level, constituency is pivotal and elections are fought among individuals at that level. Therefore, to speak that any Lok Sabha elections are fought between titans is just a misplaced argument.

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