After letter, some Congress leaders back Gandhis
The also termed as unfortunate a move by this group of party leaders to challenge the Gandhi family leadership ahead of the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday.Updated: Aug 24, 2020, 01:13 IST
Congress chief ministers, state units and senior leaders rallied in support of the Gandhi family on Sunday and urged Rahul Gandhi to take the reins without delay after a section of the party wrote to interim chief Sonia Gandhi and sought an overhaul of the organisation,complaining of “drift” and uncertainty in the leadership.
The also termed as unfortunate a move by this group of party leaders to challenge the Gandhi family leadership ahead of the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday. The development has exposed a deep divide in the grand old party on the leadership issue.
Congress chief ministers Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) and V Narayanasamy (Puducherry ), state unit chiefs DK Shivakumar (Karnataka), Balasaheb Thorat (Maharashtra), Anil Kumar (Delhi), KS Alagiri (Tamil Nadu) and Ripun Bora (Assam), Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, former union ministers Salman Khurshid and Ashwani Kumar, Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV, Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah all backed the Gandhi family, urging Sonia Gandhi to stay on until Rahul Gandhi is ready to take charge once again.
Rahul Gandhi resigned in May 2019, taking responsibility for the Congress’s rout in general elections, and Sonia Gandhi reluctantly became interim chief.
Opposing the bid to challenge the Gandhi family leadership, Captain Amarinder Singh said this was not the time to raise such an issue.
“The move by these Congress leaders to demand a rehaul of the party at this critical juncture would be detrimental to its interests, and the interests of the nation. What the Congress needs is a leadership that is acceptable not just to a few but to the entire party, through its rank and file, and the nation at large,” he said, adding that the Gandhis fitted the role.
“Sonia Gandhi should continue to helm the Congress as long as she wants,” he said, adding that Rahul Gandhi should thereafter take over as he is fully capable of leading the party.
Gehlot termed the letter written by the 23 party leaders to Sonia Gandhi as unfortunate and said the Gandhi family has kept the party united.
“News of 23 senior most Congress leaders writing letter to Hon’ble CP is unbelievable and if it is true - it’s very unfortunate, was no need to go in media. I strongly believe that Hon’ble CP Smt Sonia Gandhi ji should continue to lead the party at this crucial juncture where the fight is to save the ethos of our Democracy. She has always taken challenges head on. But if she has made up her mind,-I believe @RahulGandhi should come ahead and be the Congress President as country faces the biggest challenge to save our Constitution,Democracy,” he tweeted.
The Chhattisgarh chief minister wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi, urging him to return as the party chief. “Hon’ble Sonia ji and Rahul ji are the ray of hope for us in every challenge. We are all with you. Millions of party workers and people of Chhattisgarh and the entire nation are with you…,” Baghel wrote on Twitter.
“I saw the news in some newspapers that ex Congressmen wanted overhaul and changes in Congress party This kind of statement will create confusion in the minds of millions of Congress men This a ploy by BJP to divert attention of people from Facebook controversy,” the Puducherry chief minister tweeted, referring to a report in Wall Street Journal that Facebook had favoured a soft approach towards hate speech by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians .
Siddaramaiah tweeted, “It is unfortunate that the leadership of Gandhi family is being questioned by few. In these difficult times of undeclared emergency and attack on democracy by BJP, we should collectively strive to strengthen Congress and not weaken it.”
Ashwani Kumar and Salman Khurshid spoke against elections to the party president’s post and favoured a consensus. They argued that elections would be divisive.
Thorat described Rahul Gandhi as a “courageous, sensitive and intellectually committed leader” and demanded that he lead the party.
He said Sonia Gandhi should continue to lead the Congress as its interim president until Rahul Gandhi takes over as the full-time president.
“With due respect to Rahulji’s sentiments, we would like to say, ‘Come Back, Rahulji’. Under your leadership, we will be the voice of millions of Indians, we are determined to make history. This is not only the need of the Congress party but the need of the entire country as well,” said Thorat.
The Delhi Congress, after an emergency meeting. adopted a resolution demanding Rahul Gandhi’s return as the party’s chief without delay.
The meeting, presided over by the Delhi unit chief, noted that some senior leaders going public with their call for a change in the leadership had given “ammunition” to Congress opponents to mount an attack on the party, demoralising its cadre.