Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has opposed the bid to challenge the Gandhi family leadership in the party, saying this is not the time to raise such an issue.
Former union minister and Congress veteran K K Tewary said on Sunday that a letter written by some party leaders calling for a change in leadership and an organisational overhaul is an “organised coup” by the BJP and promotes its agenda of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. He said the issues raised by the leaders deserved serious scrutiny by the leadership and in the same breath added that the Gandhi family should keep the reins of the party or else it would disintegrate.
The former minister said the Congress leaders who wrote the letter have never contested elections and have fallen into a trap laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “This is an organised coup by the Modi-Shah duo and this only promoted their agenda of a Congress-mukt Bharat. This is part of the BJP-RSS plan to further weaken the Congress party,” Tewary told PTI.
In their letter, a group of former ministers and some MPs have called for the appointment of a full-time, active leadership easily accessible to workers and leaders. The leaders have also called for bringing changes in the organisation by effecting reforms through decentralisation of power and empowerment of state units, besides setting up of the Central Parliamentary Board, a body that existed in the 1970s but was later wound up.
Tewary said the people who have signed the letter have for decades enjoyed the patronage of the Nehru-Gandhi family and “they have flourished for decades as they carved out their own empires out of the party”. “They walked into the trap of the BJP and are collaborating with the BJP-RSS propaganda that the Congress is dead. They are collaborators of BJP. They do not realise the danger that the BJP-RSS pose to the survival of democracy in the country and its unity and integrity,” he said.
The Congress veteran said the party leadership should remain with the Gandhi family as “without them, the Congress will disintegrate”. “The Gandhi family should continue to lead the party. Sonia Gandhi should continue as party chief, but if she wishes to relinquish due to her health, it is now time for Rahul Gandhi to take over the party and galvanise its rank and file to strengthen it further,” the former minister said.
Tewary was two-time Member of Parliament from Buxar in Bihar in 1980 and 1984 and was a Union minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government. He said the Congress party is confronted with “a coup deftly engineered by the deep state under the RSS-BJP dispensation which only promotes its agenda of Congress-mukt Bharat”. “Many of these signatories have impeccable credentials of loyalty and commitment to the Congress but a sizable section are plain careerists and climbers…,” Tewary said.
“Many of these issues raised in the letter are timely and deserve serious scrutiny by the powers that be. But while raising the organisational issues within the Congress they should have honestly looked into fakery of so-called elections and organisational set-up of the BJP. Honestly, the BJP as it was known is practically dead,” he said. “It is remarkable that many of these worthies have not fought even a Panchayat election but their safe sanctuary is Rajya Sabha for life,”he also said.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has opposed the bid to challenge the Gandhi family leadership in the party, saying this is not the time to raise such an issue. In a statement, Singh said the need today is for a strong opposition against the BJP-led NDA which is out to destroy the country’s constitutional ethos and democratic principles.
“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,” he said.