Congress is not just a party, it’s an ideology: MP Kuldip Rai Sharma

Congress party is an ideology through which India got freedom from British rule, says Andman MP KR Sharma

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Congress is not an individual, it is basically an ideology. It is an ideology through which India got freedom from British rule, an ideology that made the Indian constitution.’

Recently, Parijat Tripathi, Editor, News India Global had an exclusive interaction with Kuldip Rai Sharma, Congress MP from Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Here are the excerpts from the conversation:

PT:  Kuldeep Ji, tell us about your political journey so far.
KR:  My political journey started around 20 years ago. My biggest inspiration was my grandmother. She was in active politics. She used to do a lot of social services. She wanted to help each and everyone whom she met. There are a lot of other family members who are in politics. I have always wanted to serve the society in the best possible way I can.

PT:  Were you involved in Politics during your college days?
KR:  During my days in college I was involved in active politics. I fought against the system which was not functioning properly. I made my own party during the days in Jadhavpur University. During those days CP(M) was in power so it was very difficult for us to breakthrough. I formed the students’ association at the University. I fought against NSUI and DSF but it was very competitive.

PT:  In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Congress lost by a historical margin but you were one of the few MPs who won it for the party. What’s the secret behind it?
KR:  There is nothing like a secret in Politics. There are a few things which I have understood. I am a grounded man. My formula is to implement the man to man approach. For the last 20 years I have used the same approach. I met people individually. I lost twice in 2009 and 2014. 2009 elections were very close while in 2014, I lost mainly due to the Modi factor and Telangana factor because there are around 38000 Andhra votes in Andaman.    

PT:  How do you see the future of Congress Party going forward?  
KR:  See, Congress is not an individual, it is basically an ideology. It is an ideology through which India got freedom from British rule, an ideology that made the Indian constitution. This is the reason Congress has lasted more than 70 years. An ideology never dies. If even a single person is alive, the ideology and the party is alive.

PT:  What is the reason for Party’s debacle in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha Elections?
KR:  I think we have lost connection with the public. Party also needs to bring new faces in.

PT:  According to you, which leader is capable of presiding the Party?
KR:  I personally feel this question is irrelevant. The election of Congress President is purely democratic, whether he is from Gandhi family or outside, Congress itself is so powerful that it can choose it’s leader democratically.

PT:  What are your future plans and policies for Andaman & Nicobar Islands?
KR:  There are a lot of issues Andaman is facing. It is not a small place. It is spread over 8457 thousand kilometers and consists of 547 islands. The first and foremost issue is water. Half of the population of Andaman gets pure and filtered water while the other half is deprived of it. They consume unfiltered water which is a cause of several diseases. As we know Andaman is a tourist destination, if local citizens will not get pure water, how can you expect tourists to get proper water for drinking.

PT:  Do you think there are still challenges to overcome?
KR:  Yes, there are challenges but I feel Andaman has the resources to generate revenues. There are some decisions to be taken which, if implemented properly, I believe we will not require the 4800 Cr we take every year from Delhi, instead we can give 10000 to them. Water, Health, Unemployment and Education are some of the major areas which need to be focussed on. Recently I got to know that we have got 50 specialist posts for doctors out of which 22 are filled and 28 are remaining. When I inquired deeply I got to know that specialist doctors don’t want to come to Andaman because they are not paid enough like they are in other parts of the country. Andaman lacks the proper facilities for special treatment like heart and Kidney. People have to travel to Kolkata or Chennai to get treated. The most distressing part is that if an accident occurs you don’t get flights after 3:00 pm in the evening. These are some of the major issues that I am working on and these are the areas that need to be worked on.

PT:  You always seem to be positive about Andaman. That’s most appreciable about you. What do you think?
KR:   See, if you talk about the tourism industry, most of the tourist destinations around the world have come in the last 20-25 years. So you need to be optimistic about the fact that Andaman has its own beauty and has got the resources to progress and make way for a great future of India. 

(Indira Rai)

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