Congress seniors express unhappiness for ‘being sidelined’
Some Congress old timers on Thursday met and expressed their fire for being sidelined in the new team formed in the state to bring the party back to power in the 2022 assembly elections.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has appointed a new team in which leaders have an average age of 40 years. An advisory council of senior leaders though has been appointed to work with Priyanka, many seniors have not found a place in the new team due to smaller size of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and district units this time.
Seniors leaders, who assembled at the residence of former MP Santosh Singh, included former ministers, former legislators and those who had worked with late Indira Gandhi and late Rajiv Gandhi, defeating big guns, and bringing the party back to power in 1980.
As the occasion was former Prime Minister late Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birth anniversary celebrations, those who assembled also paid floral tributes to India’s first PM and said they only wanted to reaffirm their commitment to the party and convey to the leadership how those who stood with party despite all odds were being pushed to the sidelines.
Leaders said they were being neglected merely on the basis of their age despite remaining committed to the party while many new comers had been given a place in the new team. “Nehru is called great because he accepted his mistakes. There can be no future without appreciating the contribution of seniors. We have complete faith in the leadership. But the party should consider a mix of both young and old instead of neglecting the seniors,” they said.
“No one is ready to recognize contribution of seniors. We will hold a meeting of about 500 seniors in NOIDA soon and a delegation of about 20-25 leaders will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi in this regard,” said a senior leader Rajendra Singh Solanki, who had reached here from Ghaziabad.
Besides Santosh Singh, those who attended the get together included former MLA Vinod Chaudhary, BN Mishra, SP Goswami, KK Sharma, Nek Chandra Pandey and former MLC Siraj Mehandi. “We have seen people coming to the Congress before elections and leaving the party thereafter. We do not want any post. But we want that those who have stood loyal to party over the years should not be made to feel humiliated,” said a leader adding, “A committee of senior leaders has been constituted to work out details of all the future programmes.”
Most leaders condemned the BJP government at the Centre for withdrawing Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to members of Nehru-Gandhi family. Leaders listed the contribution of the Nehru-Gandhi family, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, in national integration and said the Centre should restore the SPG cover to them. Former minister Ram Krishna Dwivedi, who presided over the get together proceedings, said he had asked partymen to raise their point at proper party forum and ensure that Thursday’s get-together did not give a message of any division in the Congress ranks.
Former minister Satyadev Tripathi said he also urged the party leaders to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi to make their point.
When contacted, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said he was not aware of any resentment among the old timers and he would meet senior leaders once the issue was brought to his notice. “I am not aware of any such get-together. They all are members of the Congress family. If there is any issue in the party, I will meet and resolve it,” said Lallu.