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Congress Needs Younger Leadership, Gandhi Trio Won’t Allow Anyone: Natwar Singh

File photo of former Congress leader Natwar Singh. (News18)

File photo of former Congress leader Natwar Singh. (News18)

Holding the Gandhis responsible for the state of the party’s affairs in Punjab, Natwar Singh said the Congress is in a “pathetic state”.

Congress veteran and former Union minister Natwar Singh has delivered a scathing indictment of the state of affairs in his party as the crisis in Punjab escalated with Amarinder Singh announcing he was on his way out after being removed as CM.

Speaking to News18, Natwar Singh said the party is in “very poor shape”. “What sort of Congress party do you have now? The Congress he (Amarinder Singh) joined is quite different from what it is now. It’s in very poor shape. I don’t know whether he will leave the Congress, but the fact of the matter is that at one point, the Congress was one of the greatest democratic parties in the world. Today, it’s in a pathetic state,” Natwar Singh said.

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Asked whether he held the Gandhis accountable for the Congress’ state of affairs, Singh said: “Yes, I do. Who else is calling the shots? Ghulam Nabi Azad is not, AK Antony is not. Nobody in the working committee is. It’s the family that’s calling the shots.”

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Natwar Singh had left the Congress after a 25-year association over his fallout with Sonia Gandhi. “Gandhis won’t allow the change to take place. The trio won’t allow anybody,” he said, referring to Sonia, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

“Rahul Gandhi has been functioning in the Congress party since 2002. He has been an MP since then. He is over 50 years old. His sister is slightly younger than him. They aren’t young people. They are knocking on the doors of middle age. What the Congress needs is a much younger people,” he said.

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Singh, who is also the brother-in-law of Captain Amarinder Singh, expressed displeasure over the manner in which Captain was removed as CM. “It is absolutely shocking. Here’s one of the senior-most CMs of India. He has been a CM for nine-and-a-half years. He has done good work and without any explanation, you decide to have the meeting of the PCC in the middle of the night and don’t inform him. What choice did he have? Any self-respecting person would resign,” Natwar Singh said

“It’s the Congress party’s loss. Who do they have as his replacement?” he further said.

Commenting on Amarinder’s “I told you so” remark after rival Navjot Singh Sidhu’s surprised the party with his resignation as PCC chief, Natwar Singh said: “Sidhu is a superb cricketer. I think he should go back to cricket.”

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first published:September 30, 2021, 16:31 IST