In a not-so-veiled remarks targeted at Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, senior leader AR Antulay has squarely blamed the Congress high command for the situation the party finds itself at present.
“We have been forced to see this day because of the high command,” the 85-year-old leader said cryptically when asked who is responsible for the Congress tally nose diving in the Lok Sabha polls from 206 to just 44, its lowest ever.
The former Maharashtra Chief Minister in whose 2, Janpath residence the Congress-I was formed by Indira Gandhi lamented that the party has come to such a pass that it cannot secure the Leader of the Opposition post on its own in the Lok Sabha.
A close associate of Indira Gandhi, Antulay initially was reluctant to talk on the issue of the electoral debacle of the party at the national level and in his native Maharashtra and how to turn around the party at this critical juncture. Congress has just won two out of the 48 seats in Maharashtra where it is ruling for the past 15-years in alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP.
“What one can say when the high command itself is not appearing to be concerned,” the former Union Minister said, when asked about the way ahead for the party.
Replying to a query, Antulay said he was sad that no one at the helm had contacted him so far to ask how the party could be revived when it has drawn blank in several states and has minimal presence in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
He said after formation of the Congress-I in 1978, Indira Gandhi had energised the party so much in those difficult times that everyone like him moved heaven and earth to see that it was in power in less than two years.
In 2009, Antulay, who was then Union Minority Affairs Minister, was defeated by Shiv Sena’s Anant Gite, who was supported by the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), in the Raigad constituency.