‘Reform is not questioning something one has taken advantage of’

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI):
Taking a dig at some of the G-23 leaders who have renewed their call for reforms in the Congress, senior leader Salman Khurshid on Sunday asked whether those calling for organisational polls have got to where they are in the party in the same manner, and asserted that reform is achieved by sacrificing, not by suddenly questioning something that one has “taken advantage of” over the years.
Days after G-23 leader M Veerappa Moily stressed the need for a “major surgery” on the party to make it electorally more competitive, Khurshid said these “wonderful phrases” are not the answer as party leaders need to sit down and come up with solutions to the challenges that have arisen in the last 10 years. In an interview with PTI, Khurshid also said that it was for Rahul Gandhi to decide whether he wants to contest the party’s presidential polls or not, but asserted that with or without being party president he remains “our leader”.
Asked about Kapil Sibal’s call for widespread reforms across all levels of the organisation and Moily calling for a “major surgery” on the party, the former Union minister took a dig saying, “I am quite happy for the major surgery but what do you want to remove — my liver, kidney, just somebody tell me what surgery you want to do.”
Khurshid, who is among the leaders considered close to the Gandhi family, said the “surgery” should be done on the party but it must be made clear what one will lose and what one will achieve by it.
“These wonderful phrases are not the answer, we need to get to the bottom (of the problem), we need to get to the inside, before surgery, we need to do X-rays, ultrasounds,” the 68-year-old said using medical analogies.
The senior Congress leader said he doesn’t understand when people say “let us do surgery, reform, bring about a fundamental change” and wishes that they would clearly explain what they mean
by it. “If they mean that there should be a reshuffle and they should be given the top positions, then that is not reform or surgery. That is just saying ‘I want the job’. So, I think there should be a conversation,” he said.
Khurshid asserted that the leaders calling for reform should have had a discussion with other leaders as well.
“Why hasn’t somebody talked to me and said let us do this for the party?…(it is as) if only they exist and want reform,” he said referring to the ‘Group of 23’ leaders who had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi and sought extensive organisational revamp last year.
But since then, out of that group, Jitin Prasada has switched over to the BJP while many have apparently distanced themselves from the group.
Pointing out that the ‘Group of 23’ leaders, which included the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Moily and Sibal, had sought major organisational revamp, he said they only said there should be elections in the party.

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