Sonia asks CWC to elect a new chief, Rahul questions timing of dissenters’ letter | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sonia asks CWC to elect a new chief, Rahul questions timing of dissenters’ letter

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Aug 24, 2020 03:27 PM IST

The CWC had named her the party’s interim chief on August 10 last year after Rahul turned down calls to withdraw the resignation he had given on May 25, taking moral responsibility for the party’s rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday started as expected, with interim chief Sonia Gandhi asking the party’s highest decision-making body to begin the process of electing a new president, thereby relieving her of the duties.

Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter written by dissenters—the Congress president was ill and the party was fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.(PTI)
Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter written by dissenters—the Congress president was ill and the party was fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.(PTI)

Party general secretary in-charge of the organisation KC Venugopal read Gandhi’s letter to CWC.

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The meeting came a day after a letter written to Sonia Gandhi purportedly by 23 leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan and Jitin Prasada, was leaked to the media. In the letter, the dissenters sought a complete overhaul of the organisation and the formation of a parliamentary board, and maintained that the Gandhis will always be an integral part of a “collective leadership”.

Also Read: CWC meet: Leaked letter puts Congress seniors on back foot

At Monday’s CWC meeting, Sonia Gandhi said that it had been a year since she was asked to lead the party till a new president was elected. The CWC had named her the party’s interim chief on August 10 last year after Rahul Gandhi turned down calls to withdraw the resignation he had given on May 25, taking moral responsibility for the party’s rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“A year has lapsed now. In the party’s interest, I ask CWC to begin deliberations to put in place a process of transition to relieve me of my duties,” she said.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first speaker after Venugopal read Sonia Gandhi’s letter and urged her to continue on the post till a new president is elected.

Former defence minister AK Antony said if Sonia Gandhi was unwilling, then Rahul Gandhi should take over. He said weakening the high command meant weakening the party. “How can my colleagues write such a letter? This is cruel and unfortunate,” added Antony.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel urged Rahul Gandhi to lead the party once again.

Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter written by dissenters—the Congress president was ill and the party was fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

He was referring to the upcoming by-elections in Madhya Pradesh and the internal turmoil in the ruling Congress in Rajasthan where Sachin Pilot and 18 other legislators revolted against Gehlot. The rebellion ended after Pilot met Rahul Gandhi and the party formed a three-member committee to resolve issues raised by both the sides.

Azad then spoke and explained the reasons behind the letter. He offered to resign if it was proved that he had been colluding with the BJP, as alleged by some of his party colleagues in tweets, letters and statements on Sunday after the contents of the letter and the names of those who had written it were reported by the media.

There was some drama outside the CWC meeting as well. Media reports quoting Rahul Gandhi stated that those who had written the letter were colluding with the BJP, prompting a strong response from senior leader Kapil Sibal.

“Rahul 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’!” he tweeted.

Reacting to this, the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted saying Rahul Gandhi had said nothing to that effect.

“Please don’t be mislead by false discourse or misinformation in the media. But yes, we all need to work together to fight the draconian Modi rule rather than fighting and hurting each other and the Congress,” he said.

Soon after, Sibal withdrew his tweet and said Rahul Gandhi had informed him personally that he had never made such a remark.

“Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet,” he tweeted.

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