At a time the Congress is fighting questions around its leadership, its senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has all but declared his own party a write-off in the 2024 national election.
Addressing a rally in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, Ghulam Nabi Azad said he does not see the Congress winning 300 seats in the next general elections.
He was talking about restoring Article 370, scrapped in 2019, and was explaining to the crowd that he was in no position to make promises that he couldn’t possibly deliver on.
“(Article 370) is in court. I will not talk about what is not in our hands just to please people. I can’t promise you the stars and the moon. If anyone can do anything, apart from the court, it is the current government, which itself was responsible for the move. We are 300 MPs short. I can’t even say that in 2024 if Congress wins 300 MPs, we can do something. God willing we will win but right now I don’t see that happening. So I will not make any false promises,” said Mr Azad.
The former J&K Chief Minister was speaking at a rally in Poonch. The Congress says the comments were in a particular context and shouldn’t be taken beyond that.
Mr Azad is a prominent and vocal member of the “G-23” or group of 23 Congress leaders who, in an unprecedented act of defiance, wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi last year asking for sweeping changes in the organisation, including a visible and present leadership.
His grim assessment of the Congress’s prospects came on a day Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee aimed many darts at the party as well as its leader Rahul Gandhi.
“What UPA? There is no UPA now? What is the UPA? We will clear all issues. We want a strong alternative,” Ms Banerjee said on the Congress-led coalition that was in power between 2004 and 2014, effectively rubbishing any talk of the Congress leading the opposition in the 2024 polls.