Prime News, National (Kochi), August 8:- The Congress is facing an “existential crisis”, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said on Monday and pitched for “a collective effort” by party leaders to “overcome” the challenges it faced from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
Ramesh also said that business as usual approach will not work against PM Modi and Mr Shah and advocated for flexibility in approach to make the Congress relevant.
“Yes, the Congress party is facing a very serious crisis,” Mr Ramesh told news agency Press Trust of India in an interview.
Taking jibes at party leaders who still behave as if the party is still in power, he said: “The sultanate has gone, but we behave as if we are sultans still. We have to completely redo the way of thinking, the way of acting, the way of projecting, the way of communicating. I think there is a lot of goodwill for the Congress, a lot of support for the Congress but people want to see a new Congress. They don’t want to see old mantras, old slogans. We must recognise this is a big challenge. Huge challenge for us.”
He said the Congress had faced “electoral crisis” from 1996 to 2004 when it was out of power. The party had also faced “electoral crisis” in 1977 when it lost the elections held soon after the emergency.
He, however, justified the Gujarat Congress’s decision to send 43 of its MLAs to a resort in party-ruled Karnataka on July 29 to fend off the alleged “poaching” attempts by the BJP, saying the BJP had also “transported” MLAs in the past.
He said it was wrong for the Congress to think that anti-incumbency will work automatically against the Modi-led government in the states being ruled by the BJP in the elections.
“We have to understand we are up against Mr Modi, Mr Shah. And they think differently, they act differently, and if we are not flexible in our approach, we will become irrelevant, frankly,” the Congress leader said.
He said the Congress must also recognise that India has changed. “Old slogans don’t work, old formulas don’t work, old mantras don’t work. India has changed, the Congress party has to change,” he said. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).