We need to walk the talk when Congress criticises BJP for being fascist: Sanjay Jha

Updated: 16 July, 2020 07:24 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

"We are not open to reason and dissenting voices as in the past. This is a disconcerting trend that must be reversed. I was terribly disappointed to hear about my abrupt suspension (no specific instances mentioned) on a TV channel," he said

Sanjay Jha
Sanjay Jha

Suspended from the Congress for anti-party activities late Tuesday night, its former national spokesperson, Sanjay Jha, stood his ground. He told mid-day that the party needed to walk the talk when they were criticising BJP for being authoritarian and fascist (a legitimate complaint) and they need to recognise that they cannot be accused of the same either.

"The Congress was a party that historically has been renowned for championing the democratic spirit in our institutions, and it is thus disappointing that when party members raise contentious issues and provide constructive criticism, the response has been curt and dismissive," Jha said, adding that the internal forums of debate, discussions and deliberations have vanished.

"We are not open to reason and dissenting voices as in the past. This is a disconcerting trend that must be reversed. I was terribly disappointed to hear about my abrupt suspension (no specific instances mentioned) on a TV channel," he said. Yet he said he remained a Gandhi-Nehruvian idealist and loyal to the party's ideology. Jha's comments and suggestions, especially with regard to the political drama in Rajasthan, prompted his suspension. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat issued a suspension letter and press release late Tuesday night. The release said Jha was suspended from the Congress with immediate effect for anti-party activities and breach of discipline.

A surprise for Jha
While Jha was surprised (he claimed he was unaware he belonged to the Maharashtra unit till the action) and disappointed, the state Congress spokesperson and general secretary, Sachin Sawant, told mid-day that Jha was a member of the party from Mumbai. People in the state Congress said Jha didn't work his way up from the grassroots level, but was an articulate professional from Mumbai, whom the party found useful for panel discussions on news shows. Jha also headed the Maharashtra chapter of All India Professionals Congress for a couple of years.

In fact, he had his fate sealed last month when he was sacked as national spokesperson for questioning the party leadership through his writings in newspapers and magazines. Tuesday's night's television debate and a series of tweets blaming the Congress for the political crisis in Rajasthan, proved the last straw for the Congress high command.

Suggested a solution
Reacting to the suspension, Jha tweeted on Wednesday, "My loyalty is to the Congress ideology. My fidelity is not to any individual or family. I remain a Gandhi-Nehruvian idealist (a vanishing breed within Congress). I will continue to raise issues that are fundamental to the resurgence of my party. The battle has just begun." In one tweet, Jha suggested a solution to the Rajasthan conundrum. He said Sachin Pilot should be made chief minister and Ashok Gehlot (already 3-times CM ) must be given a senior organisational role to revive weak states, and a new leader appointed as head of RPCC.

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First Published: 16 July, 2020 07:11 IST

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