The decision made by Congress to remove Sanjay Jha as party spokesperson drew a lot of attention as the senior party leader had recently voiced his concerns about the party's disharmony in leadership among other challenges within the biggest opposition party. The public criticism certainly didn't sit too well with the Gandhi-run party, whose chief Sonia Gandhi decided to drop Jha as AICC spokesperson.
As pointed out in his Twitter bio, Jha said he was sacked as a spokesperson for writing "India needs a reawakened and revitalized Congress, ready to win the second freedom struggle." But his bio also states he is "Congressi by DNA."
In the latest episode of The Talk, Sanjay Jha and Danish Manzoor, Editorial Director at IBT, delved deep into various topics but mostly talked about Congress, his sacking and other controversies surrounding it all.
Sanjay Jha on his controversial articles
When asked about how his public criticism of Congress party attracted unnecessary heat, resulting in him losing his position as a national spokesperson, Jha explained his point of view and reason behind the criticism.
"Some of us have the knack of taking the bull by the horn. I am a Congress guy by DNA.. and I do believe that I'm more Congressi than 99 percent of the people in the party. I'm proud that I'm truly secular, I'm a liberal, nobody can take that away from me. I'm a progressive guy and I do believe we need to be a tolerant nation. I do believe in my constitution of democracy. Now I wrote those articles... from the bottom of my heart. It's a party I care for and I was devastated to find out that for over the last six years we had done nothing to figure out as to why we were losing elections. There was no effort done to figure out what was the way forward," Jha said on The Talk.
"In politics, the winner takes all. The Congress doesn't get a silver medal for 52 seats. Either you win or you don't. I feel in this environment, the Congress party needs to be hungry and desperate, energetic. So I wrote that article out of plain, deep, excruciating pain in my constitution. The Congress party instead of understanding where I was coming from, giving constructive feedback, axed me as a spokesperson," he added.
On reviving Congress and pledging allegiance
Jha further highlighted what's not going right with the Congress party. The lack of quarterly meetings to assess the party's position, be in terms of party's shortfalls or new goals, funding, grassroots, technology, leadership and communication, was a concerning factor for Jha. He noted that, "this is not the Vajpayee government, Mr Modi has and Mr Shah have changed the political dynamics of the country. The BJP is like relentless, they want to win every election. I think there is nothing wrong in setting ambitious goals and a political party to win at all."
Jha said he didn't mind being axed as the spokesperson even if it came at a cost.
"If you are a congressman, you'll keep fighting for the party. I am not ever leaving the party and I think Congress probably knows that. So they are like let's fix him so anybody else in the Congress party has any such bizarre interests in becoming far too independent with his creative thinking, we'll tell them to pat-down," he quipped.
On a serious note, Jha said Congress needs to reboot itself as this new dynamics of the political realm in India.
Internal democracy within Congress needs a serious tonic. I think we need steroids to bring it back, but let's do it," Jha said.
Jha also pointed out that Congress is detached from the grassroots. public interest in the party is pretty low. He also cited some surveys that said people of India are extremely unhappy with the migrant crisis and the state of the economy, handling of China, state of the industry and other issues. Despite that, people said they had full confidence in Modi and the BJP is still the preferred choice.
"That's the message to the Congress party. We are still not seen as an alternative. Therefore I do believe, the party has become into compartments and everybody is in silos somewhere and as far as the leadership is concerned they have the right to choose people they are comfortable with. I feel if the Congress party continues to delude itself that a third time round Mr Modi will definitely lose in 2024, we are indeed living in a land of delusions and we should not."
"Congress is a fantastic party, it's got great organizational depth. It needs to be energized, it's got phenomenal workers and it's got great talent. All that the party needs to do is say let's run and let's set goals and let's be open, let's have a new leader," he concluded.
Watch the full interview of Sanjay Jha on The Talk: