Senior Congress leaders who called for an overhaul of the party organisation may have aimed at exposing how Rahul Gandhi’s loyalists were allegedly trying to run the party, but a leak of the letter they wrote to Sonia Gandhi turned the tables. They lost the advantage they gained at a July 30 meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Rajya Sabha members of the party.
Their key demand this time, according to the letter, was for a “full-time and effective” leadership that is “visible” and “active”.
Signatories to the letter, including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, came under intense attack from colleagues at Monday’s meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which ended with the party reaffirming its faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
A resolution adopted by the CWC, too, contained a sharp reference. “No one will be or can be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership at this juncture,” the resolution said.
Senior leaders who were signatories to the letter cited several reasons why they had been “compelled” to write it, including difficulties in getting appointments with the party’s top brass.
One leader said on condition of anonymity that in the internal WhatsApp group of Congress leaders, any suggestion fora review of the party’s functioningor detailed discussions are met with attacks by at least two MPs.
He added that some leaders have also wondered why one general secretary, considered to be close to Rahul Gandhi, is present in several key panels. He did not name the leader.
Some senior leaders were also got frustrated at the delay in shuffling state organisations.
“Many key appointments are held back. There is no clarity on how the organisation was working and there was no consultation with senior leaders,” said a signatory to the letter.
But while this section was successful in getting their agenda discussed in the meeting, several party insiders said the letter turned the tide against them.
They added that the group of veterans who wrote the letter had the upper hand three weeks ago when they united, apparently to safeguarding former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s legacy after Congress MP Rajiv Satav called for introspection on the second term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
But their attempt to “reform” the organisation is being seen as a sign of revolt against the Gandhi family members — a charge the seniors vehemently deny.
UPA ministers Shashi Tharoor, Anand Sharma, Milind Deora, Manish Tewari (all among the 23 signatories to the letter to Sonia Gandhi) were vocal on Twitter to defend the UPA’s achievements.
Anand Sharma, a minister in the UPA regime, wrote 11 tweets to remind colleagues that “honest introspection” was always helpful and “Congressmen must be proud of UPA’s legacy.”
Sharma cautioned young leaders: “No party disowns or discredits its legacy. Nobody expects the BJP to be charitable and give us credit but our own should respect and not forget” its legacy.
Milind Deora invoked Manmohan Singh’s words—history will be kind to me—to say: “Could he have ever imagined that some from his own party would dismiss his years of service to the nation & seek to destroy his legacy – that, too, in his presence”.
While Manish Tewari, who had lashed out at Congres MP Rajiv Satav also spoke out strongly. “
BJP was out of power for 10 years. Not once did they ever blame Vajpayee or his government for their then predicaments. In @INCIndia unfortunately some ill–informed would rather take swipes at Dr. Manmohan Singh led UPA govt than fight NDA/BJP. When unity reqd (required) they divide,” he tweeted.