New Delhi, Mar 16: After a dismal show in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections 2017, two former UPA ministers speak out against the leadership in the party over a culture of “sycophancy” coming in the way of induction of new fresh faces and of grooming leaders. As per the reports, former tribal affairs and Panchayati raj minister Kishore Chandra Deo and former law minister Ashwani Kumar raised their voices against the so-called “sycophancy” in the party.

Former tribal affairs and Panchayati raj minister Kishore Chandra Deo said that All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi has to get rid of the dozen of people around him to “survive” in politics. Former law minister Ashwani Kumar said that after defeat in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Congress party needs to candidly accept their mistakes and show willingness to make amends for their mistakes – “wherever the responsibility lies”.

Deo said that the party heavily depends on “a dozen people who, for all practical purposes, have no accountability”, reports Indian Express. “Many of them have also developed certain personal likes and dislikes at the expense of the party. They have been continuing in important positions. The same people keep playing musical chairs and are put in charge from one state to another. You take the list of states these people have been in charge of and in most, the Congress has lost,” Deo said.

When asked about if Rahul Gandhi knows about it and why he had not taken any action, Deo said, “Of course, he knows. He has mentioned it in party meetings. It is not a million-dollar question but a billion-dollar question.”

While these two UPA ministers raised their voices against Rahul Gandhi, former party MP Priya Dutt said that the Congress party suffers from an “autoimmune disease”. She also said that everyone in the Congress party must try to rebuild the organisation for future.

Ashwani Kumar said, “All I can say is that this is the greatest ever threat that the Congress has faced to its relevance as a national political party and everything that is necessary needs to be considered,” on being asked if it was time to look beyond Rahul Gandhi.

“I have said what I wanted to say. All that the Congress needs to do is to put into motion a process which will be able to throw up leadership at various levels. When you confuse sycophancy for loyalty, you don’t create leaders. When (the) intellect is at a discount, you can’t make a great party,” Kumar said.

Deo also pointed out that the new Chief Minister of Manipur N Biren Singh was a former Congressman. He asked, “The same thing happened in Arunachal Pradesh. When these things happen, what are those in charge doing? What are they advising?” Citing the examples of Congress rebels Vijay Bahuguna in Uttarakhand and Rita Bahuguna Joshi in Uttar Pradesh, Deo said, “People who you make PCC presidents and chief ministers, once they are out of the post, they go and join a party which is ideologically totally opposed to yours. So what kind of choices are these? Who made these choices?”

About the possibility of party regaining its stature under Rahul’s leadership, Deo said, “It is not important whether it is Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi or some other Gandhi. I will put a counter question to you. Can Rahul get rid of these people around him? If he can, he will survive. Otherwise, he will also have to face the same music. It is very clear.”

“The surgery or introspection needs to delve deeper into one single issue. Why is it that the Congress party could not generate a set of leaders across the country?” Deo asked.

Kumar said that introspection should be translated into action. “Merely analysing on a theoretical basis is not enough,” he said. “Democratic elections is about leadership. It is about bonding. It is about emotions, it is about connect with the people. These are the issues that need to be gone into rather than being satisfied by a game of musical chairs,” said Kumar.

Pointing at the leaders who are capable of connect with people, Kumar said, “There are leaders who are capable of creating a popular sentiment and there are leaders who are capable of identifying the popular sentiment and riding the crest of that sentiment. That is what leadership is all about.”

Citied the cases of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Deo said, “the people who finished off Congress are still in charge over there. If they are sending the same people to finish off the party in one state after another. If this kind of a thing goes on, it will be very difficult for the party to come up.”