Congress has Be­come a Crowd Around a Fad­ing Dy­nasty, says Jait­ley

Fi­nance min­is­ter says that from a nat­u­ral party of gov­er­nance, Congress has moved to the fringe now

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New Delhi: Elated by BJP’s good show in civic polls in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Odisha, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jati­ley on Thurs­day said Congress had be­come “a crowd around a fad­ing dy­nasty”.

In a blog, Jait­ley said the Congress party’s stiff op­po­si­tion to de­mon­eti­sa­tion of big cur­rency notes had cost the party dear as the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion had got over­whelm­ing sup­port from the poor. The BJP reg­is­tered a big win in municipal elec­tions in Ma­ha­rash­tra and made sig­nif­i­cant gains in Odisha municipal polls held ear­lier in the month. Hit­ting out at the cur­rent Congress lead­er­ship, Jait­ley said that if the cur­rent rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the “dy­nasty lacks the abil­ity to lead the party or the coun­try, the party suf­fers. It be­comes a crowd around a fad­ing dy­nasty. This now seems ob­vi­ous in the case of the Congress”.

The Congress, he said, has “lost its im­age as a re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion”. “From a nat­u­ral party of gov­er­nance, it has moved to the fringe. Its poli­cies have alien­ated its con­stituency of the poor aam aadmi,” he added.

The min­ster fur­ther said par­ties which adopt dy­nas­tic suc­ces­sion as an al­ter­na­tive to merit-based lead­er­ship, suf­fer from a nat­u­ral dis­ad­van­tage. “Tall lead­ers do not grow in such par­ties. The strength of the party over­laps with the charisma of the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of the dy­nasty,” he said.

Re­fer­ring to de­mon­eti­sa­tion, Jait­ley said the Congress’ stand on de­mon­eti­sa­tion of high value cur­rency “is cost­ing it dearly”. He said a party which has gov­erned In­dia for more than half a cen­tury can­not af­ford to take a stand which sup­ports ex­ces­sive use of cash and ridicules the new tools of technology which will en­able dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions to be a sub­sti­tute for cash. He said the dis­rup­tive role played by the Congress in Par­lia­ment has pro­jected it “more as a fringe rather than a main­stream po­lit­i­cal party”. Dub­bing the Congress as “anti-re­formist and anti­growth”, Jait­ley in the post said it re­fuses to ac­cept the re­al­ity that it is out of power now and scan­dals con­tinue to tum­ble out from its rule be­tween 2004 and 2014.

Tak­ing a dig at the cur­rent Congress lead­er­ship, he said “the strength of the party over­laps with the charisma of the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of the dy­nasty”.

He said the Congress “got squeezed out” in Odisha while it got pushed to the third and fourth places in most cities in Ma­ha­rash­tra.

The fi­nance min­is­ter stepped up his pitch, say­ing the Congress party is not even a ma­jor con­tes­tant in Tamil Nadu, West Ben­gal and Ut­tar Pradesh. “It is strug­gling to sur­vive by be­com­ing the tail-en­der in an al­liance in these states,” he added.

Jait­ley said many lead­ers in the Sa­ma­jwadi Party were won­der­ing if it was worth leav­ing 103 seats for the Congress in UP. “Is the Congress will­ing for an in­tro­spec­tion as to why this is hap­pen­ing? Hav­ing de­nied to the Congress the po­si­tion of be­ing the rul­ing party, the elec­torate is now well on its way to deny it a role even as a prin­ci­pal op­po­si­tion,” he quipped. Buoyed by BJP’s per­for­mance in Ma­ha­rash­tra civic polls, Jait­ley said it shows the BJP is now ca­pa­ble of win­ning ma­jor states on its own.

“The first mes­sage of these elec­tions is the BJP has be­come a pan-In­dia party which is now fast spread­ing its roots even in the eastern and south­ern states. The forth­com­ing elec­tion for the Kar­nataka assem­bly will re­assert this,” he as­serted.

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