By Anand Singh
New Delhi– Even as Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that Gwalior royal Jyotiraditya Scindia feared for his political future prompting him to switch sides, former Tripura Congress chief Prodyut Debbarman feels that joining the “BJP is not the right option” and that it’s time for Rahul to talk to young leaders to stop desertion.
“I think all of us should sit together and think of the way ahead as all of us belong to the Congress ideology,” Debbarman told IANS.
Debbarman, who belongs to the Tripura royal family and is a Scindia cousin, said, “Jumping on to the BJP bandwagon is not the right option. We should sit down and find ways as to how we can contribute for the country in a situation where the Congress leadership seems unwilling to give space to the youth.”
He said all the young leaders in Congress have worked together and “it’s time we should come out with a solution as India needs an effective opposition”.
“I think leaders such as Sachin Pilot (Rajasthan), Ajoy Kumar (Jharkhand) and many others have the capability,” he said.
Facing neglect, Debbarman himself had resigned as the Tripura Congress chief last year. Former IPS officer and Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar, too, stepped down in August last year and joined the Aam Aadmi Party.
Debbarman said if the Congress is not willing to wake up and not ready to fight against the BJP, “then it is important to come out with a new independent centrist party which works for all and without leaning towards one extreme”.
When asked about his Facebook post, where he mentioned that Scindia did not get appointment from Rahul Gandhi’s office, he said, “Scindia had asked for an appointment with Rahul Gandhi’s office five months ago, but he did not get any. And yesterday, Rahul claimed Scindia was one leader who could walk to his residence anytime. He (Rahul Gandhi) should ask his office why Scindia wasn’t given time.”
Debbarman said ever since Rahul stepped down as the party chief, he has not been taking day-to-day decisions, which is known to everyone in the party.
“Another important point that Rahul Gandhi had raised in his resignation letter was that he had felt alone in the party as senior leaders were putting their children first and not the party. He, in fact, referred to the party’s old guard. So, what I am saying is nothing different from what Rahul had said,” said Debbarman.
When pressed further whether Rahul Gandhi is facing betrayal within the party, the former Congress leader said, “It is not Scindia’s son or Pilot’s son and we know that. He had spoken briefly about three leaders and we know who they are… problem lies there.”
His remarks came soon after Rahul Gandhi replied to a question on Scindia joining the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi said, “I know the ideology of Scindia as he was in college with me. Scindia feared about his political future and he moved to the RSS by keeping his ideology in his pocket. But the reality is that in BJP, he will not get respect. He will understand this with time. I have an old friendship with Scindia, but what lies in his heart and what he says are completely different,” he said.
When pressed further about the number of young leaders who were promoted in the front row of the party by him, he said, “Who is in my team and who is not and what else is going on is of no consequence as I am here talking about the country’s economy.”
The unceremonious exit of Scindia has put the focus back on the young turks of the party, who have been sidelined since Rahul Gandhi stepped down from his post following the 2019 Lok Sabha election debacle.
Following Rahul Gandhi’s resignation during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on May 25, just two days after the Lok Sabha results were out, the old and veteran leaders of the party instantly came into action and started sidelining the young leaders appointed by the Gandhi scion in the last few years.
Besides Scindia and Debbarman, the young leaders who felt slighted included Milind Deora, Deepender Singh Hooda, Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Ajoy Kumar and Sandeep Dikshit.
The young leaders feel alienated, especially after Scindia was overlooked for the post of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief. Similarly, Sachin Pilot, despite being Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan, is being pushed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to give up the state President’s post, a party source said.
Even Prasada is said to be unhappy as he has been denied the top party post for many years, despite commitments being made by the top leadership. He was also upset during the Lok Sabha polls, but was pacified by Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, said a source, adding he was also promised a Rajya Sabha seat.
The former Union minister, Prasada has been a special invitee to the working committee, but one of his close aides said his heart lay in Uttar Pradesh, where the party made Ajay Kumar Lallu the state unit chief.
Meanwhile, calls and messages to Jitin Prasada and Milind Deora remained unanswered. On Wednesday, Congress leader Anand Sharma rejected the “young versus old” rift in the party and said the party combined a blend of youth and seniors. (IANS)