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'Won’t Allow Congress to Decay': Chidambaram on Lessons Learnt from Defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls

P Chidambaram said when the Congress was reduced to 44 seats after Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the party recognised that it had lost the battle at an organisational level.


Updated:April 8, 2019, 8:29 PM IST
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'Won’t Allow Congress to Decay': Chidambaram on Lessons Learnt from Defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls
File photo of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Photo: Reuters)

New Delhi: Former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said the Congress’s heavy defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha elections taught the party important lessons in organisation and communication strategy.

Chidambaram said when the grand old party was reduced to a mere 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, defeated thoroughly by the BJP, the party recognised that it had lost the battle at an organisational level. “(We learnt) that we cannot neglect the organisation,” Chidambaram said. “Most of us senior leaders are drafted into government and the party’s organisation is neglected which, I think, is a big mistake.”

He referred to the ’Kamaraj Plan’ of 1963, wherein senior Congress leader and then chief minister of Tamil Nadu, K Kamaraj, had resigned from his post and urged other senior leaders to follow suit in order to revitalise the party. Six Union ministers and six chief ministers, including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Morarji Desai, Biju Patnaik and SK Patil had followed Kamaraj’s footsteps and resigned from their posts. Kamaraj, for his act, was made the national president of the Congress.

“I sometimes nostalgically look back at the Kamaraj plan of 1963 when Jawaharlal Nehru asked senior ministers to go back to the party. I don't know how it will be played out 50 years later,” Chidambaram said, adding: “Among the competent and credible leaders, a sizeable number must be earmarked for party work and building the organisation. We cannot allow the organisation to decay while we focus on governance.”

The defeat of 2014 elections, he said, signified the importance of effective communication of the government’s work to the voters. “Whatever we do, we must communicate. We can't be shy of communication, we can't be modest about communication, we don't have to adopt the brash attitude of Narendra Modi when he exaggerates the lies, we don't have to utter untruths, and we have to communicate what we have done more effectively,” he said.

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