NATIONAL

‘Legitimacy of India’s democracy in question’

Ahmed Patel tweets on New Year

The legitimacy of India’s democracy stands in question, said senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday, as he shared his thoughts on the first day of the New Year.

“We began the last decade with a lot of hope. In 2009-2010, India was growing at 8%. Today, we are barely growing at around 4%. Post the nuclear deal, the international community and the press recognised India’s global strength. Today, for various reasons, the legitimacy of our democracy stands in question,” said Mr. Patel, one of the key political aides of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, in a statement put out on Twitter.

“Let’s hope the new decade is not another lost decade,” he added.

The comments from one of the key strategists comes at a time when the principal Opposition party is looking to work on a revival plan to reach out to crucial support bases like the youth.

CAA protests

The ongoing protests by students across various campuses over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the police action on campuses like Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) have allowed the party to connect with the youth.

Party insiders claim that the Congress leadership didn’t want the CAA-NRC protest to become another BJP versus Congress battle.

“Initially, we were clearly told that these organic protests should get primacy,” said a Congress spokesperson on why the Congress leaders or Chief Ministers were not seen leading the protests like West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, who immediately hit the streets.

Changes tack

Post Jharkhand Assembly poll results — the first Assembly election after the passage of the CAA in Parliament — where the Opposition trumped the ruling BJP, the Congress seems to have changed tack.

While former party chief Rahul Gandhi visited Assam to meet with the families of protesters who were killed in police firing, his sister and party general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, went to Lucknow to take on the Yogi Adityanath government for the alleged “excesses committed by the police under his watch.”

While elections in these States are some time away — Assam goes to polls in 2021 and U.P. a year later — the attempt is clearly to work on a long term revival plan.

Let’s hope the new decade is not another lost decade

Ahmed Patel

Congress leader

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