New Delhi: Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Friday hailed the reconstituted CWC as “very balanced” and having a “good mix” of youth and experience, while asserting that the Hyderabad meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body was crucial in view of the upcoming state polls.
Pilot, who along with other new faces such as Shashi Tharoor found a place in the reconstituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) last month, said he has always fulfilled with utmost sincerity any role that has been assigned to him by the party but his “heart lies in Rajasthan” and that is where he “can add most value”.
In an exclusive interview with PTI, Pilot said the Congress has to play a “leading role” in the INDIA bloc because it is the largest party of the alliance but asserted that everyone was being given mutual respect in the bloc.
It is not about who occupies which position of power or post, all those issues would be taken up at the appropriate time perhaps even after the Lok Sabha polls, Pilot said of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
Would Congress play the fulcrum of opposition alliance?
Asked whether the Congress would play the role of the fulcrum of the opposition alliance as it did in the UPA, the former Union minister said everyone in the alliance has a role to play but the Congress is the largest party in Parliament among the bloc and in a democracy, numbers matter.
“Every constituent of INDIA is an important player and has a role to contribute. It is not about individual leaders or parties, it is about the issues that bring everyone together. It is about protecting the constitutional bodies, about institutions having the freedom and independence which is so crucial, it is about the blatant misuse of agencies against the opposition and having a government that doesn’t debate, discuss, or deliberate matters of national importance, so all those issues that deeply impact all of us are important,” the 46-year-old leader said.
“The Congress party has to play a leading role because it is the largest party of the alliance but everyone is being given mutual respect and each other’s political sensitivities are being regarded, that is what matters,” Pilot said.
On CWC meet in Hyderabad
Speaking about the reconstituted CWC ahead of its first meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday, Pilot said it was in line with the criteria that the Udaipur declaration had enunciated.
“As a national party, we have to take into consideration leaders from all parts of our country — whether it is the northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, or other regions. It’s a very balanced working committee that has been formed by (party chief) Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge,” Pilot said.
“Of course it represents all regional aspirations and it has a good mix of experience and young people who are going to contribute meaningfully,” he asserted.
It is a good working committee, constituted after the party had authorized the AICC chief to nominate one, Pilot said, adding that the focus in the panel has been on Dalits, ST, OBCs, minorities and fresh faces.
“There are also some very senior people that have been included, it is very balanced. It will be helpful for the party,” he said.
‘My heart lies in Rajasthan’
Asked about his induction into the CWC and whether his focus still is on Rajasthan despite the responsibility of the party at the central level, Pilot said for more than two decades he has fulfilled with utmost sincerity, whatever role the party has assigned to him.
“But my heart lies in Rajasthan and that is where I can add most value. Certainly, I will do whatever the party asks me to do but my priority will be to ensure that we break this 30-year cycle of BJP-Congress and repeat the Congress government in Rajasthan,” he asserted.
On CWC meet agenda
Asked about the deliberations that would take place when the CWC meets on Saturday and at the extended CWC meeting on Sunday, Pilot said it is the highest decision-making body of the Congress where all issues of national importance need to be taken up to make the government of the day accountable.
Also, strategy for the upcoming state polls as well as the next Lok Sabha elections will be firmed up, he added.
This session of the CWC in Hyderabad will be crucial as it will chart out the course of the Congress in the next few months with quite a few elections coming up in November-December, he said.
“I look forward to these meetings in Hyderabad. The working committee will work with renewed vigour and energy and this augurs very well for the Congress’ future,” Pilot said.
On 2024 Lok Sabha polls
On the Congress’ chances in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls as compared with 2014 and 2018, he said every election is different and the people have experienced a full majority government now for over nine years.
“The 2024 elections will be based on the performance of the BJP government in the last 10 years. It won’t be an election on emotive issues that are controversial, it will be focused on issues of development, people’s issues of price rise, inflation, huge disparity between the rich and the poor and nine years of governance, will matter,” he said.
Pilot claimed that despite all the sloganeering and all the media management, the government of the day has “failed to perform”.
“On the other hand, after a very long time, almost the entire opposition has come together and the INDIA bloc has come together in full force. The 2024 polls will be decisive coming together of the opposition parties is certainly ringing alarm bells in the BJP,” he said.
Comparison with 2019 LS polls
Asked what is different from 2019 when despite doing well in the state polls, the Congress had performed badly in the general elections, Pilot said, “We all know that on the eve of the 2019 polls there was a different atmosphere because of the issues at the border, that was a different time. Now it is almost 10 years of the BJP government and we have seen how things have panned out in the last few years, whether it is the economic slump, the disparity between the rich and the poor, or the inflation which is biting even the upper middle class.”
“The farming community feels cheated and the young people are losing faith. Small scale industries are in severe stress and there is unprecedented outflow of high net worth individuals from our country,” he alleged.
Pilot said the victory in Himachal Pradesh broke the belief that the BJP was unbeatable in the north. He pointed out that after that the party also won Karnataka.
“The double engine sarkaar has failed. I am of the opinion that in the next round of state elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram, we are on our way to victory. Those wins will certainly add to our workers’ morale when we go to polls in 2024,” he said.
People are beginning to believe that the INDIA bloc will overcome the challenge of the BJP.
“The Bharat Jodo Yatra was symbolic of what the Congress and the INDIA bloc stands for and wants to achieve – harmony, peace brotherhood, progressive thinking, inclusive economic policies and a forward-looking agenda by which India can become a top-ranking nation in the world,” Pilot said.