Congress is a status-quoist party, has no convictions: PMs adviser

During a discussion at a book-release function in Delhi's Nehru Memorial Museum and Library on Monday, Harish Khare, the Prime Minister's media adviser, articulated an unprecedented critique of the Congress.

The Congress, Khare said, is "by nature, chaal, charitra, essentially a status-quoist party. It does not believe in any conviction. (Its) only conviction is to win elections. That is its only conviction".

This is the first time that Khare, a former journalist, has publicly criticised the party that leads the government that employs him.

Khare was speaking as the discussant after AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh released JNU professor Sudha Pai's book, Developmental State and the Dalit Question in Madhya Pradesh: Congress Response. Digvijaya said that as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for 10 years, he had followed the "politics of conviction", as opposed to the "politics of consensus".

Khare said that the argument for social change has to be made "in a larger frame of political respectability. Not (in the context of a) politics which rewards cynicism, family nepotism, bogus factionalism, groupism in the party, yet expects the larger body of citizens to make sacrifices". You will end up with "cronyism, crony capitalism, defeated initiatives", he said.

Khare began his intervention quoting Harold Lasswell's definition of politics as 'who gets what, when and how', and added, "at whose expense".

Attempt at social transformation will come to naught, he said, without a political strategy in place to deal with the inevitable conflict and resistance it provokes. And the attempt is doomed to fail, argued Khare, because "you can't change the Congress", still the country's largest party, to which "all good things and bad things in the country can be traced".

Only "enlightened leadership" from above is not enough, said Khare, in the absence of the creation of a "commensurate political constituency for change". He gave three examples of such a failure of Congress governments of the past: Indira Gandhi in 1971, Madhavsinh Solanki despite his astute 'KHAM' strategy in Gujarat in the 1980s, and Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh in 2003.

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