High drama at CWC meet: Rahul’s BJP charge, Sibal’s tweet rebuttal, Azad’s resignation offer

Gandhi family loyalists and Congress Chief Ministers took on the section of leaders who signed the letter and rallied behind the Gandhi family, calling for Sonia Gandhi to stay or Rahul Gandhi to take charge again.

Avatar Written by August 24, 2020 18:22
Rahul Gandhi, Kapil Siba, Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi: As the top Congress leadership met today via video conference, high drama unfolded with deep divide emerging within the top leadership.

The virtual was held apparently in wake of Letter of Dissent written by some of party veterans, seeking sweeping changes in party and election of a full-time party president.

At the outset, Sonia Gandhi offered to quit as interim party president and told the CWC members to begin process to choose a new president.

Rahul’s direct charge at ‘Group of 23’

Rahul Gandhi led the charge against dissenters, accusing them of being in ‘cahoots with the BJP’.

Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the party leaders who had written to Sonia Gandhi seeking several organisational reforms, including a collective leadership and dissolution of powers to the party’s state units.

cwc

Sources present at the meeting said Gandhi was furious about the timing of letter and it being leaked to the media, and appeared to suggest whether these leaders were “colluding with the BJP”.

“Sonia Gandhi says she has given a note (a reply to the letter written by some senior Congress leaders to her over party leadership) to KC Venugopal, and he will read it out. Rahul Gandhi pointed at the timing of the letter by party colleagues and criticised it,” sources said.

“Rahul Gandhi said, why was the letter (over party leadership) sent at a time when Sonia Gandhi was admitted in a hospital,” sources said.

Sibal, Azad furious over Rahul’s ‘BJP jibe’

Rahul’s direct charged provoked a fierce reaction from some of the signatories.

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who is also among the 23 letter-writers, posted a blistering response to Rahul Gandhi’s allegation: “Rahul Gandhi says we are colluding with BJP. Succeeded in Rajasthan High Court defending the Congress party. Defending party in Manipur to bring down BJP Government. Last 30 years have never made a statement in favour of BJP on any issue yet ‘we are colluding with the BJP!'”

Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad said he would resign if any such link is established. Azad, who is one of the signatories, read out the contents of the letter, saying the leaders are not questioning Sonia Gandhi and only wanted organisational reforms in the larger interest of the party.

Congress gets into damage control

However, moments later Congress came out with a clarification that Rahul Gandhi didn’t accuse any party leader of “colluding with the BJP” and said that he “has not said” a word of that nature nor alluded to it.

Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Rahul Gandhi hasn’t said a word of this nature nor alluded to it. Please don’t be misled by false media discourse or misinformation being spread.”

“But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather then fighting & hurting each other and the Congress,” Surjewala tweeted, tagging Sibal’s earlier tweet hitting out at Rahul Gandhi.

Deleting his tweet aimed at Rahul Gandhi, Sibal later said, “Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet.”


Gandhi loyalists vs Dissenters, veterans want Sonia to stay on

Meanwhile, senior party leaders including Manmohan Singh and AK Antony said that she should continue till a new party President is elected, sources said.

Sonia Gandhi was appointed as an interim President on August 10, 2019, by the CWC, after Rahul Gandhi stepped down as party chief, taking the responsibility for party’s disastrous defeat in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi family loyalists and Congress Chief Ministers took on the section of leaders who signed the letter and rallied behind the Gandhi family, calling for Sonia Gandhi to stay or Rahul Gandhi to take charge again.