Congress has lost confidence in its leadership, looking for fresh icons : Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday took a dig at Congress, saying the party has “lost confidence” in its leadership, is “confused and demoralised” and its leaders are “sympathising” with Afzal Guru and AIMIM MLA in Maharashtra who refused to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

“Congress is so confused, demoralised and distressed, as it has lost confidence in its own leadership and is in search for fresh icons,” he told reporters here, a day after JNU Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who is facing sedition charges, met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Citing Congress MP Shahshi Tharoor’s comparison of Kumar with Bhagat Singh, whose martyrdom day is being observed today, he said there is a pattern in party leaders making such comments. He raked up senior leader P Chidambaram’s expression of “solidarity” with the AIMIM MLA and criticism of the Afzal Guru hanging judgment.

“Chidambaram opined that terrorist Afzal Guru should not have been hanged…He even expressed solidarity with AIMIM MLA who refused to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Congress MLAs supported his suspension from Maharashtra Assembly whereas their senior leader opposed it. Congress leaders’ comments are a great insult to freedom fighters,” he said. Rahul Gandhi went to JNU “even without knowing what was happening on the campus” and expressed solidarity with elements who were indulging in anti-national activities.

“Now one of its senior leaders says Kanhaiya is Bhagat Singh of his time. They have no qualms in praising persons who sided with Afzal Guru’s supporters. In Assam, their campaign features JNU leaders as their icons, what a great fall! “In the name of supporting dissent, they are ready to go to the extent of supporting forces of disintegration. I feel depressed that some Congress leaders are equating the great sons of this great country to some people who support the separatist forces eulogizing Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhat and Yakoob Memon. What a shame,” Naidu said, attacking Congress.

Bhagat Singh went to gallows saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and so called secular leaders are questioning the slogan and ridiculing nationalists, he said, accusing Tharoor of insulting the freedom fighter. “One can understand the leftists doing so but how can a party supposed to be a national and nationalist party expresses solidarity with such forces. This is not in the interest of Congress but also of the country,” Naidu said.

Congress should come clean on these issues and make clear its stand on Afzal Guru, Yakub Memon, Ishrat Jahan, Bharat Mata Ki Jai, and comparison of Shaheed Bhagat Singh with people who sided with the separatists, he demanded.