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Highlighting the importance of internal democracy within all political parties, Vijay Darda, chairman-editor of Lokmat Media Group and former Rajya Sabha member, emphasized that questioning the leadership of the party (Congress) is not an act of rebellion, but rather a right in a democratic society. He also expressed his belief that Shashi Tharoor would have been a more suitable choice for Congress president than the current leader.

During the launch of his book, ‘Ringside: Up, Close and Personal with India and Beyond’ (Lokmat Prakashan; Rs 799), Darda stated that the Congress missed an opportunity by not appointing a globally experienced leader like Tharoor as the party president. He also expressed concern about senior politicians leaving the Congress and stressed the importance of a strong opposition in a democratic nation.

Darda questioned whether asking questions of the leadership should be considered rebellion, asserting that in a democracy, individuals have the right to question leaders just as they would question family members. The event was attended by several prominent figures, including Shashi Tharoor, Sanjaya Baru, Shekhar Gupta, and Devendra Darda.

‘Ringside’ is a collection of essays originally published in Marathi and Hindi, covering political and social issues from Darda’s tenure as a Rajya Sabha MP. Darda emphasized the importance of a journalist’s independence from political affiliations, citing his father’s belief that a journalist’s pen should always be free.

Darda also expressed his prediction that Prime Minister is likely to win the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He expressed hope that the new Parliament building will foster civil debate and discussion, but criticized recent sessions for their inefficiency, blaming both the opposition and the ruling party.

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