Switching is easy when ‘Ideology’ doesn’t matter: Kapil Sibal on Jitin Prasada’s exit

The senior Congress leader has said that the party requires transformation and the leadership must listen.

Jitin Prasada’s exit from Congress and joining BJP, a high profile departure revealed the deep crisis of the party - the spotlight has gone on the other members of the "G-23" or group of 23 "dissident" leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping reforms. Senior Congress leader and a prominent member of this group, has ruled out a similar move saying he would never join BJP and that would happen "Over my dead body".

“I will never in my life over my dead body join the BJP who I have opposed since my birth as a politician,” he stated. 

This statement comes a day after, youth face of Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s close ally Jitin Prasada switched to the BJP. 

Sibal said the party needs strong reformations and the leadership must listen.

He showed his displeasure with the way politics is done today dubbing it as "Prasada Ram politics based on personal gain" rather than ideology.

"I don't want to comment on what the party leadership has done or not done. We have reached a stage in Indian politics where decisions of this nature are not based on ideology at all. They are based on what I now call 'Prasada Ram politics'. Earlier it was Aaya Ram Gaya Ram. We have seen this happening in West Bengal - suddenly people leave because they think BJP is going to succeed...You want to fight elections, not based on your convictions towards an ideology but your conviction that 'I might get something personally'. The same happened in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra..."

The former union minister further said that it is strange that a person like Jitin Prasada would join BJP. "Even if issues are addressed, if a person thinks I am not getting anything, he will leave. Jitin may have good reasons to leave. I don't blame him for leaving the party. I blame him for the reasons he joined the BJP. With what face can he say that now I am embracing an ideology I was opposed to for three decades? And this party that talks about principled politics, with what face do they take Jitin? People are losing faith in this kind of politics,” Sibal said. 

"Issues were not addressed, that is true. They must be addressed as quickly as possible. We will continue to raise those issues. If the party for some reason tells me we don't need you, I will leave it. I am not in it for myself, but I will never in my life, over my dead body, join the BJP who I have opposed since my birth as a politician,” Sibal was quoted by a news channel. 

On being asked about the reformation the party needs, Sibal said: "Don't ask me, ask whoever has to address them. The Congress must become the grand old party that it was. For that we need reforms. We are fighting within the system and we have continued to raise issues. If the head stops listening, the organization will decline. All that we want is that the Congress party should listen to us."

Mr Prasada is the second big loss for the Congress party after Jyotiraditya Scindia, another close former Rahul Gandhi aide who turned to BJP last year, along with a group of Madhya Pradesh MLAs, bringing down the Congress government in the state.

Jitin Prasada, before quitting said that his family has been associated with Congress for years and he has taken this decision after giving a lot of thoughts to it, adding that there is only one party that has nationalism in it and it is BJP. 

Prasada’s retreat has brought new challenges for Congress, as fresh cracks in the Rajasthan Congress have also been reported. 

Several senior leaders after back-to-back failure in elections have suggested collective-decision making and strong visible leadership.  

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former Union minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday said the grand old party needs to undergo a "major surgery" and not depend upon its legacy. He asserted that the party must give primary importance to ‘ideological commitment’ while assigning responsibility to the leaders. 

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