High drama played out at the nearly seven-hour Congress Working Committee meeting with sources saying that Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the letter writers and some leaders found it to be insinuating that it was written in cahoots with the BJP.
Did Rahul Gandhi say it or did he not? This was the question on everyone’s mind after his purported remarks on a letter written by over 20 party leaders seeking urgent organisational reforms created a flutter. High drama played out at the nearly seven-hour Congress Working Committee meeting with sources saying that Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the letter writers and some leaders found it to be insinuating that it was written in cahoots with the BJP.
However, the Congress promptly denied this and said “not a word of this nature” was said by the former party chief.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, one of the 23 signatories to the letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi seeking an immediate organisational overhaul and a collective leadership, hit out at Rahul Gandhi in a tweet, saying, “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’!”
But Sibal posted another tweet a little later, saying he was withdrawing his earlier tweet after being “informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him”.
Tagging Sibal’s earlier tweet, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also said that 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 than fighting & hurting each other and the Congress,” Surjewala tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was also at the centre of the controversy with a section of the media reporting that he offered to resign over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks. Seeking to set the record straight, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said a section of the media was “wrongly attributing that, in CWC I told Shri Rahul Gandhi to prove that the letter written by us is in collusion with BJP”.
“Let me make it very clear that Shri Rahul Gandhi has neither in CWC nor outside said that this letter was written at the behest of BJP. What I said was, yesterday some Congress person had said that we did it at behest of BJP & in that context I said ‘It is most unfortunate that some colleagues (outside CWC) have accused us of collusion with BJP, and if those people can prove this allegation, I will resign'”.
Congress MP Manickram Tagore also tagged Sibal’s earlier tweet and said, “Kapil Sibal ji We all have great respect for you. @INCIndia made you cabinet minister and gives a lot of importance. you are NOT inside the CWC. You are reacting to a leak that is false. It does not reflect well on a leader as senior as you are, to react to hearsay.” He later posted another tweet to thank Sibal after the former cabinet minister clarified his remarks and withdrew his earlier post.
Some BJP leaders also hit out at Rahul Gandhi over his purported remarks that the letter by over 20 Congress leaders seeking changes in the organisation will help the ruling party. They said Gandhi was “obsessed” with the saffron party and that “one’s destruction is near when one stops using his own mind”.
“So obsessed is Rahul Gandhi with the BJP that he is beginning to see Congress’ veteran leaders as those working in ‘collusion’ with BJP. Someone rightly said when one’s destruction is near, one stops using his own mind,” BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav said.
BJP’s Tom Vadakkan, who was in the Congress for decades and was considered close to the Gandhi family before he joined the saffron party last year, said the opposition party’s internal politics is being played out as a result of their “misdeeds”. “Mirror has cracked. When a mirror cracks, there is no way to put it together. You have to throw it out,” he said in a swipe at the Congress leadership over the letter.
Vadakkan also said the commitment of the leaders, who are signatories to the letter and include veterans like Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ghulam Nabi Azad, to the Congress is “definitely much more” than Rahul Gandhi.
“They are not born in the party. They have lived in the party. They have only suggested a course correction and free and fair elections and a leader who is available to lead the party round the clock,” he said.
Vadakkan claimed that the denial by the Congress that Rahul Gandhi made any statement linking the letter’s signatories to the BJP was an “afterthought”. “He (Rahul) believes if you are not with him, then you are with the BJP, not even the Trinamool Congress or any other party,” the BJP leader said.