National News

Congress is facing an existential crisis and needs to change, says Jairam Ramesh

The senior party leader said it was wrong to assume that anti-incumbency would work against the current government in the next election.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said that the party faces a “deep crisis”, which is an existential one and not an electoral one, PTI reported. The former Union minister also said that a “collective effort” was necessary to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah.

“We have to understand we are up against Mr Modi, Mr Shah. And they think differently, they act differently, and if we are not flexible in our approach, we will become irrelevant, frankly,” he told PTI in an interview. Ramesh added that it was wrong to assume that anti-incumbency would work against the current government in the next election. “India has changed, the Congress party has to change,” he said.

Ramesh described some members’ behaviour as those of sultans. “The sultanate has gone, but we behave as if we are sultans still. We have to completely redo the way of thinking, the way of acting, the way of projecting, the way of communicating.”

Other points Ramesh made:

  • “I think in all probability, Rahul Gandhi will take charge (as Congress president) before the end of 2017... I thought it will happen in 2015, it didn’t happen. I thought it will happen in 2016, it didn’t happen. So I am the wrong person to ask this question. I feel that it may happen before the end of 2017.”
  • “I have always maintained that it is the collective strength of the Congress that will overcome Mr Modi not some individual magic wand”.
  • “I think there is a lot of goodwill for the Congress, a lot of support for the Congress but people want to see a new Congress. They don’t want to see old mantras, old slogans. We must recognise this is a big challenge. Huge challenge for us.” 
  • On Nitish Kumar’s joining the NDA: “Personally, I was aghast, astonished, deeply disappointed, but we have to move on and we don’t have time.”
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.