New Delhi: As the UPA-II celebrates its
second anniversary, a veteran Congress leader on Sunday said it is
time Priyanka Vadra gets into active politics to help the
party get back to power on its own in the 2014 general
elections by discarding the "crutches".
Vasant Sathe said that if the Congress` "first family"
-- Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka -- embark on a vigorous
mass contact drive in the months and years to come, the party
could restore the past glory of single party rule in the next
Lok Sabha polls.
"I tell you with guarantee that if Sonia, Rahul and
Priyanka go out all over the country, then you will see a
revival of the Congress with the emergence of a vibrant
organisation. There are no short cuts. It is time to throw the
crutches," the 86-year-old former Union minister said.
The Congress leader said that after Sonia, Priyanka is
the one who has more mass appeal as compared to Rahul but she
is not coming forward in active politics as she apparently
feels her brother will be "sidelined".
Sathe, who was a close associate of Indira Gandhi, said
that the late leader in her difficult days struck a rare
chord with people through her mass appeal and contact and the
same should be emulated now.
Accusing the "baseless people" acting as advisors of the
leadership for promoting alliances, he said, "The theory of
coalitions is not only ridiculous but disastrous for Congress
as it sips the energy of the organisation instead of making it
Regretting that there was growing impression among people
that the Congress president was "unapproachable", he said that
Sonia could remove it by embarking on a major mass drive.
He said Rahul`s visits to the houses of the poor were
useful, but what is more important is "mass contact than
Sathe said that he had taken Indira Gandhi to Vinoba
Bhave during the difficult days when the Congress had lost
badly in the post-Emergency election. At that time, Vinoba`s
advice to her was to reach out to the people.
This was the need of the hour as regional leaders like
Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalithaa and Nitish Kumar were growing
and "national parties are proving to be weak including
Congress", he said.
"A fragmented leadership at the Centre will not be in the
interest of the country."
Sathe`s remarks come at a time when there has been an
unease in the UPA with allies like DMK coming under the shadow
of the 2G spectrum scam and a section of the Congress feeling
that it was time to "think out of the box" for the future
Congress leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, have generally made light of queries whether the UPA
experiment will be repeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections
maintaining that the polls were far away.