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As the Congress party is slowly losing elections in various states, the party is clearly in trouble, however, according to senior party leader Jairam Ramesh, the Congress is facing an 'existential crisis' a more significant threat than the 'electoral crisis' it has faced in the past.
In a recent interview with a news agency, Ramesh said that the Congress party leaders need 'a collective effort' to 'overcome' the challenges it faced from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
"Yes, the Congress party is facing a very serious crisis," Ramesh said in the interview.
Ramesh admitted that while in the past Congress had faced an 'electoral crisis' from 1996 to 2004 when it was out of power and another one in 1977 when it lost the elections held soon after the emergency, but the crisis of today is of a different nature.
"But today, I would say that the Congress is facing an existential crisis. It is not an electoral crisis. The party really is in deep crisis," he said.
"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. 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," said Ramesh.
Regarding the recent sending of Gujarat Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru to ward off 'poaching' attempts by BJP, Ramesh defended the action, saying that BJP had also 'transported' MLAs in the past, but added that the Congress was wrong to think that anti-incumbency will work automatically against the Modi-led government in the states being ruled by the BJP in the elections.
"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," the Congress leader said.
He also said that the Congress must also recognise that India has changed. "Old slogans don't work, old formulas don't work, old mantras don't work. India has changed, the Congress party has to change," he said.
Asked if there is anyone in the Congress party to give a strong challenge to PM Modi in 2019 elections, Ramesh said, "I have always maintained that it is the collective strength of the Congress that will overcome Modi not some individual magic wand".
"It has to be a collective effort," he said.