Sanjay Jha is a politician, writer, and columnist. He was sacked as a spokesman of the Congress, apparently over a pair of in the where he criticised the party’s “leadership vacuum”, the lack of “internal democratic process that listens to individual voices” and inability to get “up and running with any sense of urgency” in the wake of electoral defeats.
Jha sits down with Abhinandan Sekhri to talk about his politics, what is ailing the Congress, and, of course, his sacking.
He starts off describing the job of a party spokesperson in contemporary politics. It used to be they were tasked with cultivating a favourable narrative for their party, he says, but these “frontline warriors” of political parties have turned into “rottweilers” over the past few years.
Complaints about the lack of internal democracy in the Congress are not new, Abhinandan points out, and asks whether Jha had a problem with it even when the party was winning elections. In politics, Jha replies, “as long as you are winning, you are playing the right cards”.
But once the system stops working it needs to be rethought.
In the Congress party’s case, however, Jha argues, “despite two devastating losses we clearly haven’t learnt our lessons quickly enough”.
Jha also answers questions about what the Congress can offer to excite India’s voters, who the “full-time politicians” in the party are, who sets the agenda, how many times he has met Rahul Gandhi recently, and why Jyotiraditya Scindia left the party. There is a witty comparison of the Congress with the Times of India and the BJP with Times Now.
The conversation also goes over Jha’s own association with the Congress, why he hasn’t ever contested an election, and what’s next for him.
What’s included in my subscription?
Independent journalism is not possible until you pitch in. We have already seen what happens in ad-funded models: Journalism takes a backseat and gets sacrificed at the altar of clicks and TRPs.
Stories cost perseverance, time and resources.