BJP is LeBron James of elections, Congress a dilettante: Sanjay Jha

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Drawing attention to the BJP’s pole position in election management, Congress member Sanjay Jha compared the party performance to one of the greats of American basketball: LeBron James. In comparison, the former party spokesperson said the Congress appeared like “dilly-dallying dilettantes”.

“The BJP is the LeBron James of election management and organisational agility. By comparison, we look like dilly-dallying dilettantes. It is an asymmetrical war,” said Jha in his column for scroll.in.

The Congress has still not addressed the leadership issue in the party, with Sonia Gandhi holding the reins as interim president after Rahul Gandhi resigned taking responsibility for the dismal performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. At the party’s top body meet recently, there was again the murmur of Rahul Gandhi returning as president, however the rumours have been strongly denied by the Congress.

Zoya Hasan, who taught at JNU and authored a book on the Congress, told HT there is a larger problem with the party.

“...The basic problem is that Congress doesn’t have a full time president for more than a year which should be unacceptable at any time but more so when the ruling party has a strong leader and the leading opposition party has none. It’s odd for a party to have an interim president (Sonia Gandhi) and de facto president (Rahul Gandhi) but no full time president. No political party can function without a full time president,” said Hasan.

The BJP has already kickstarted its virtual ‘Jan samvad’ to spread the its message with elections in Bihar and Bengal ahead. There is no such activity seen on the Congress side.

Turning spotlight on the Congress rule - 55 years since Independence - Jha said the party needs to step up “not through an occasional sugar-rush or Twitter tantrums, but a bold imaginative structural transformation”.

The leader was removed as party spokesperson after he wrote two articles in a major daily that predicted the Congress’s political oblivion because of its “extraordinary lassitude and lackadaisical attitude”.

He complained about the lack of internal democracy in the party and called for renewal of political strategy and brought the focus back on the leadership issue.

In an earlier tweet, he also made it clear that he will be “throwing his hat in the ring” as a candidate for the Congress Working Committee - the highest decision-making body in the grand old party - as and when the polls are held.

Jha, Mumbai-based former banker-turned-Congress politician, in his latest column, called the Congress “India’s most powerful brand”, but added that it needed a “dramatic reinvention”.

Underlining that he is not joining the BJP or any other party, Jha said those who criticised him for speaking the “truth” have not cared to understand him. As a way forward, he suggested that they revisit My Experiments With Truth and Discovery of India, books by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, respectively.

The party leader, who calls himself “hardcore Nehruvian”, also offered hope, saying one can always start anew.

“It is never too late to make a new beginning. The ostrich is the fastest animal on two legs, reportedly clocking a mind-numbing 75 km an hour. The giant bird is also known for burying its head in the sand. The Congress must make a choice,” wrote Jha.

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