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Any Self-Respecting Person Should Leave Congress, Can’t Run Party with 40-Yr-Olds: Azad | Exclusive

By: Pallavi Ghosh

CNN-News18

Last Updated: August 28, 2022, 21:17 IST

New Delhi, India

Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the Congress on Friday, blaming Rahul Gandhi and his close coterie for the electoral decline of the party. (PTI File)

Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the Congress on Friday, blaming Rahul Gandhi and his close coterie for the electoral decline of the party. (PTI File)

Azad will soon travel through Jammu and Kashmir, as he floats his party which he says will soon grow into a national one as he thinks more leaders from the Congress could leave. However, Azad made it clear that he "won’t join the BJP ever"

In his first exclusive interview after he quit the Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad hit out at the party and Rahul Gandhi. Reiterating every point from his five-page letter, he said the Congress under Gandhi has been filled with sycophants and has failed to win even one election.

Azad will soon travel through Jammu and Kashmir, as he floats his party which, he says, will soon grow into a national one as he thinks more leaders from the Congress could leave. However, Azad made it clear that he “won’t join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ever".

Azad’s comments come at a time when the Congress has finalised its schedule for the polls for the post of party president on October 17 and has planned an ambitious Bharat Jodo Yatra to hit the streets to regain lost ground.

The party wants to counter the growing power of regional parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) that are eating into the Congress votes.

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Edited excerpts:

You have written a five-page resignation letter? Why did you, at this time?

Let me tell you, I took three days to write it and I couldn’t sleep for all this time. And even after I wrote the letter, I couldn’t sleep. I kept cutting some excerpts as I did not want to sound harsh. But what I have written is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just 5% of what I feel. But I couldn’t avoid writing it.

I have been telling them, sending letters, but got no response. How long can I tolerate the humiliation I have been receiving from them?

But what I have written is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just 5% of what I feel.

Your problem is with the Congress or with the Congress of today or Rahul Gandhi’s Congress?

It’s now a party of sycophants. It is about jee hazuri and a group close to Rahul Gandhi. And he keeps stressing the need for young people. What is this about old people not being useful? How old was Mahatma Gandhi when he ousted the British? What about Indira Gandhi when she defeated the Janta Party? You can’t have a party of only 30- or 40-year-olds. And Rahul Gandhi’s style has not won any elections. Since January 2013, Rahul Gandhi has been calling the shots and taking all decisions. But we have been travelling and hitting the ground. We travelled in buses and trucks and even got hurt. You can’t run a party on Twitter by being away. The Congress is doing a Bharat Jodo Yatra, but it needs a Congress Jodo Yatra more. This Bharat Jodo Yatra won’t achieve anything.

How old was Mahatma Gandhi when he ousted the British? What about Indira Gandhi when she defeated the Janta Party? The Congress is doing a Bharat Jodo Yatra, but it needs a Congress Jodo Yatra more.

Rahul Gandhi and the party feels you have hurt the Congress when it needs people like you the most…

They won’t do well for another 40 years. Have they involved me? Any of us. Let me tell you some things. When the CWC was called to discuss the letter we first wrote, I can’t even tell you… Every possible abuse was hurled at us and me. I was called a traitor and back-stabber. My letter began with a mention of Nehruji and Indira Gandhi. Then all my letter wrote spoke about what we think should change. But Rahul Gandhi just jumped and said that I was speaking the language of the BJP. This is ridiculous. I was the only one who never spoke to Modi even though I was the Leader of Opposition. I never went to meet him on a personal level. I never rushed to hug the PM. Rahul Gandhi did all the drama. They are making the point that the PM shed tears for me. But that’s something I explained earlier. He knew I was emotional when some Gujarati tourists died in Kashmir during a terror attack when I was the CM. When the PM cried, it shows he has feelings. My party didn’t. When I got the outstanding parliamentarian award, it was not an award given by Modi. Everyone came, but no president of my party was present. If you remember when PV Narasimha Rao died, his body was not brought inside the Congress office. I was not here or I would have objected. When Pranab Mukherjee got the Bharat Ratna, again no one turned up.

When the PM cried, it shows he has feelings. My party didn’t. When I got the outstanding parliamentarian award, it was not an award given by Modi. Everyone came, but no president of my party was present.

As to not supporting Rahul Gandhi, during the CWC, when he resigned, he told us that we did not support his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ comment. We told him this may be your language not ours. This is not our culture. He told us to solve our issues with KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala. They were small workers when I was the general secretary.

What next?

I am starting my party in Kashmir. For now, it is based there, but we will build it into a national party. I am sure many more leaders will quit the Congress. Anyone who is self-respecting should. But let me tell you, I will never ever join or support the BJP.

Being a Kashmiri, I can never do this. In the end, all I can say is that the sycophants must look into the mirror. Congress leaders who are being asked to attack me have no idea of the history of their own party.

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first published:August 28, 2022, 20:55 IST
last updated:August 28, 2022, 21:17 IST