Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Monday sharpened his attack at incumbent Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, claiming that sources close to him allegedly informed that one dummy candidate will be fielded to make the Presidential election looks like a real one.
Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Monday sharpened his attack at incumbent Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, claiming that sources close to him allegedly informed that one dummy candidate will be fielded to make the Presidential election looks like a real one. This comes even as Rahul Gandhi today filed nominations for the top post of Congress. Rahul Gandhi is set to take over the charge of the century-old party from his mother Sonia Gandhi unless something dramatic happens. A few days back, Poonawalla said that the process to elect the party President was stacked in Rahul’s favour just because he belongs to the Gandhi family. “Raising an issue nobody in my party – the Congress will have guts to raise- my conscience will not allow me to stay quiet anymore on Dynasty/ sycophancy,” he tweeted. Poonawalla had also told the media earlier that he would want to contest the party Presidential election if it was conducted in a genuine manner.
Poonawalla on Sunday furthered his attack against party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and dubbed him ‘shehzada’, in line with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) repeated jibes referring to him by the same moniker. Speaking to media Poonwala said that Congress Party had “no place for Shehzad [himself], but for shehzada [Rahul Gandhi].”
“I have been trying to raise the most important issue of dynastic politics and fair opportunity to the non-dynasts within the party for the past six to eight years. I also wrote to Rahul ji on this. Instead of answering my claims about delegates being fixed and one family one ticket rule – they are making baseless allegations against me that I am a BJP agent. I have to become a whistle-blower. I am not spineless like the other Congress leaders,” he said. “Main Shehzad hoon, shehzada nahin. [I am Shehzad Poonawalla, not a prince like Rahul Gandhi]. They don’t have a place for me,” he added.
Rubbishing Congress’ claims that he was not a party leader, Poonawalla said, “If I was not a member of the Congress Party, why does my name appear in a letter signed by Ashok Chavan in April 2016 appointing me as Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee secretary?” He showed the letter to the media as the proof. Poonawalla also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for praising him for his bravery and said, “The person whom I criticised [PM Modi] is supporting me, while the party [Congress] for which I gave my life is criticising me and saying that I am not a member of it.”
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Prime Minister Modi had also endorsed Poonawalla’s allegations and called out Congress for the lack of “internal democracy” within. “A youngster Shehzad has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress president poll. And Shehzad is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra. The Congress Party has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to even remove him from their social media groups. What tolerance is this!” the prime minister said, addressing a rally in Gujarat.
Congress Karnataka Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao had slammed party leader Shehzad Poonawalla for terming the process to elect party President “rigged” and said that he was asked by somebody to create distractions. Speaking to ANI, Rao claimed that the entire party wants Rahul Gandhi to become the Congress President. “Congress is the only party which had polls for president. Even when Sonia Gandhi contested, Jitendra Prasad was the opponent. Somebody is asking him (Shehzad Poonawalla) to do it to create distractions. The entire party wants Rahul Gandhi to become president, ” he said.
As per the schedule, approved by the Congress Working Committee, the filing of nominations began on December 1 and will end on December 4 and after scrutiny on December 5, the list of valid nominations will be published the same day at 3:30 pm. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 11, and the poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19.