New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi is "our leader" and should return as the president of the Congress, senior party leader Salman Khurshid has said, days after remarking that the party was not able to introspect on its Lok Sabha poll debacle as "its leader had walked away" after the election.
The Congress had seemingly disapproved of Khurshid's "walked away" remarks with party spokesperson Pawan Khera saying people should avoid making side comments and instead work towards exposing the BJP government's follies.
In a long Facebook post on Friday, Khurshid referred to the uproar over his remarks, saying, "I am amazed at being lectured by people who know little about personal faithfulness or political strategy. So once for all I hereby let them know that I believe faith and allegiance is about trust and personal choice. Yet for grown ups it has no place for unqualified awe and deference, real or contrived."
"I support the Gandhi family because of personal gratitude and understanding of history and Indian democracy," he said.
Strategic silence is sensible in critical moments but equally speaking up is an imperative for collective future, Khurshid said in what he termed as his letter to his colleagues in the Congress and "people who are listening".
Asserting that only dead fish flow with the water, Khurshid said the Congress is not like the BJP and must never be.
"When our spokesperson points to our duty to counter the BJP he must remember it is possible only if we can manifest our different world view and expression of a mind without fear. The battle we join is not mere screaming ossified phrases against the RSS but in how we react to specific situations, including of conflict," the former Union minister said.
The Congress must prepare for a "grand war" to save the legacy of the Mahatma and not petty skirmishes of transitory populism.
"Finally, our opponents and media can eat their hearts out but I do believe that Rahul Gandhi is our leader, he should return as president of our grand party that Soniaji will continue to inspire," the 66-year-old leader said.
"We have taken a blow but we will rise again to rule over the hearts and minds of our beloved people. Congress can give India the life of freedom and fulfilment where the head is held high by one and all without fear and favour," he said.
Khurshid said liberal parties have become self-conscious about the methods used by the BJP to win the landslide mandate. This is sadly feeding the "monster of misrepresentation and deceit" because there is no alternative narrative, he said.
"Caution is understandable but psychological retreat will be disastrous. Gnawing fear of further defeats will almost certainly deliver us to defeat. Thus conquering fear is our real salvation," he said.
"As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Mahatma, our tribute must be to become fearless. But that does not come without sacrifice. Time to depart from symbolism and embrace substance of 'satyagraha'," he said.
Khurshid also slammed a section of the media for creating controversy over his remarks, saying it is easy to turn "walk away to run away" but these petty betrayals of the truth that the media is custodian of, is complicity in the beginning of dismantling of democracy.
The former external affairs minister, in his post, also talked about the Kashmir issue, saying all those who love India dearly cannot be "mute spectators of the plight of Jammu and Kashmir".
"There is no gain saying that Pakistan has chosen to be our enemy but that applies to them more forcefully vis a vis the people of J&K. It matters not that our brothers and sisters of Kashmir have consistently disappointed us and stymied opportunities to bond with the rest of India. But we do not tire saying that it is our problem," he said.
"Be that as it may, it is a problem nevertheless. We have no option or duty other than solve the problem but that does not mean that we crush the protagonists," he said.
Khurshid claimed that even former prime minister and BJP leader late Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have agonised about how "Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, Jambhuriyat" has been given a go bye and replaced by a truncated voiceless, zero tolerance, on the ground and puerile comments by myopic wonders about improved matrimonial opportunities in the Valley.
"Others have convinced themselves that the Kashmir issue is about investment and development, even about weaving tales of prosperity. Accustomed to penchant for rewriting history they believe what can be done to books can also be done to living civilizations. Hope that their naivet will not cost India what we cannot afford," he said.