‘Call for reinventing Congress, not changing leadership’

New Delhi, Dec 10: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar Tuesday said his call for reinventing party did not mean he was talking about a change in the top leadership and the party should make efficient use of over 10 lakh party representatives in panchayati raj institutions.

Aiyar caused a flutter through his article in an English daily Tuesday saying a spell in opposition could be used to refit the party as the nation’s natural party of governance in the 21st century and sought an organisational revamp as envisaged by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“When I say reinvent itself, I am not talking about the top leadership,” Aiyar told the CNN-IBN news channel.

He said the party had drawn up maps for revamp but these could not be implemented due to demands of governance.

Aiyar, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, said the party needs to reinvent itself to the needs of the 21st century.

Aiyar’s comments came two days after the Congress suffered a 0-4 defeat in the Hindi heartland states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

He said about a third of 32 lakh panchayat representatives were Congress people.

“Don’t touch them as we haven’t been touching them and this kind of result will happen,” he said, referring to party’s debacle in the four states.

Asked if party president Sonia Gandhi should take responsibility for the defeat, Aiyar said she had already taken it before media when the final results arrived.

“What do you expect her to do. Wear sack clothes and ashes to parliament,” he said.

Congress termed Aiyar’s remarks as his personal view.

Party spokesperson Raj Babbar said Aiyar was a senior leader who has occupied high posts.

“It is his personal view and it is not a political call of the party,” Babbar said.

Aiyar also quoted Rajiv Gandhi’s speech in which he had talked about brokers of power who had converted a mass movement into a clique which dispenses patronage and enmeshed the party in a net of avarice.

Aiyar also advocated party declares its candidates six months before elections.

IANS