New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has hit out at Congress, saying the party has "inside culture that your life ends and starts with Gandhis" and that the loyalty is towards the family and not the party.
In an interview with ANI, Sarma also slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying he wants to enjoy power without responsibility.
His remarks have coincided with Congress facing a political crisis in Rajasthan due to the actions of loyalists of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot when the party had convened a legislature party meeting last week as part of the process to choose his successor.
Gehlot was slated to file his nomination in the party's presidential election but has now ruled himself out of the presidential contest.
Gehlot could face the opprobrium of high command in the coming days. He has apologised for the actions of his loyalists and said the Congress president will decide if he will remain the Chief Minister. His loyalists were averse to Sachin Pilot being chosen as his successor as he was to take over as Congress president.
In significant remarks giving an indication of the Congress central leadership seeking to assert itself in the wake of Rajasthan crisis, party general secretary KC Venugopal said on Thursday that party chief Sonia Gandhi will decide on Rajasthan chief minister’s post within a day or two.
Sarma said he gives credit to the Congress party to create an environment that there's no one beyond the Gandhi family.
"I must give credit to Congress party, they create an enviorment that beyond Gandhi family you have nothing. When someone resigns from the party, the Congress spokesperson says he has betrayed the family, they will not say he has betrayed the nation. They will say that the family gave you everything but the fact is that the people of the nation give power. But they create a buzz that family had made you MP. This is the environment of Congress," Sarma said.
"The day you join Congress...the Congress has an inside culture that your life starts and ends with Gandhi(s). Like you get attached to any guru, you just surrender everything to that guru. There is an atmosphere. I don't know who started this, who will end but this ecosystem is very strong in Congress." he added.
He said people were devoted to Mahatma Gandhi but now there is another Gandhi family and he does not know how it turned into devotion for the "second Gandhi family" within the Congress.
"People had devotion to Mahatma Gandhi. but they have successfully inherited that legacy into the second Gandhi family," he said.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, who is on Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Sarma said that he had taken moral responsibility for the party's defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and for his losing from Amethi and had stepped down as president but continues to take crucial party decisions.
"Rahul has taken moral responsibility that the party lost the Lok Sabha elections under my leadership, so I will not be the president. But who is running the party today, who is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Who is the whole party running after? That means you want to enjoy the power without accountability. In democracy, when somebody wants to enjoy the power without parliamentary accountability, without party accountability, without accountability of the people, that is the most dangerous thing," he said.
Sarma, who was in Congress for 22 years before he joined the BJP, said that most Congress workers do not have access beyond the "verandah" of their leaders.
He said BJP leaders are much more accessible.
Gehlot, who met Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, said that he will not fight for the post of Congress chief.
He said the party works under the Congress president and decisions will be taken in the time to come.
"I won't decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that," Gehlot said on being asked if he will continue as chief minister.
"I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight the polls (for Congress President). When he didn't accept, I said I'll contest but now with that incident (political crisis in Rajasthan), I have decided not to contest the elections," Gehlot said.
He also apologised for the ruckus in Rajasthan triggered by his loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state after Gehlot was set to file his nomination papers for the Congress chief polls.
Gehlot said that whatever happened in the state in the past two days had shocked everyone.
"I had a conversation with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. Whatever happened two days ago shocked us. It gave a message that all of it happened as I wanted to be CM. I apologised to her," said CM
Gehlot said that he won't contest the elections in this atmosphere. "I won't contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility," Gehlot said.
"One-line resolution is our tradition. Unfortunately, a situation arose that resolution wasn't passed. It was my moral responsibility (to pass the resolution), but despite being a CM I couldn't get it passed," he added.