CWC resolution backing Gandhis unlikely to end party power tussle

Tweets from dissenting Congress leaders hint at readiness for long fight for reforms

Tweets by dissenting Congress leaders on Tuesday hinted that the group may be preparing for a long fight to push for reforms in the party, leaving the top leadership unsure about their next move.

Also read | Sorry if we hurt Sonia Gandhi’s feelings: Veerappa Moily

“It’s not about a post. It’s about my country which matters most,” senior leader Kapil Sibal said in a cryptic tweet a day after a stormy CWC meeting ended with a resolution for the continuation of Ms. Sonia Gandhi as party president till the next AICC session.

Mr. Sibal is one of 23 signatories of a letter sent to Ms. Gandhi earlier this month, which spoke about the need for a full time and visible party president, collective leadership and suggested sweeping internal reforms.

Rajya Sabha MP and another signatory Vivek Tankha’s tweet that ‘History remembers the brave and not the timid’ became a rallying point for Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik, also signatories to the letter.

Also read: Sonia Gandhi to stay on as Congress chief until next AICC session

“Friends we are not dissenters but proponents of revival. The letter was not a challenge to leadership but a parchment of action to strengthen the party. Universally truth is best defence whether it be Court or Public Affairs. History acknowledges the brave and not the timid,” tweeted Mr. Tankha.

Responding to it, Mr Wasnik said those who saw the letter “as an offence will realise sooner than later that the issues deserve consideration”.

“Well said,” responded Mr. Sharma. “The letter was written with the best interest of the party in our hearts and conveying shared concerns over the present environment in the country and sustained assault on the foundational values of the Constitution,” he added.

Mr. Sharma’s tweet reflected the assertive stance he took inside the closed-door Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting where he not only stayed firm on the contents of the letter but also dared the party to take action ‘immediately’ when Ambika Soni talked of disciplinary action.

Also read: ‘Team Rahul’ takes on UPA Ministers at Congress meeting

The next flash point could now be over the composition of the CWC-mandated committee that has been proposed to assist the Congress president in day-to-day functioning and to make the decision-making process a broad based one.

“Only a balanced and inclusive committee that doesn’t exclude those who called for reforms, can bring an amicable closure and Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi must engage in meaningful dialogue with the seniors,” said another leader from the group that wrote the letter.

The social media responses indicate that the Congress’ efforts to make the letter a ‘closed chapter’ may not succeed as the group seems to be mulling different options and reiterating their ‘concerns’ regarding the party’s functioning.

“In the five page letter, three paras are dedicated to the Nehru-Gandhi family. It talks combating the growing clout of BJP-RSS. If we suggest that District Congress Committee chiefs should be decided by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) instead of Delhi or empowering the PCC leadership, is it anti-party or against the Gandhis?” asked one second leader.

A third leader said the group understands that effecting internal reforms is a long and arduous process but a ‘baby step’ has been taken. “We are also in conversation with other Congress off-shoots but it is too premature to comment on anything at this stage,” he said, refusing to identify the off-shoot parties.

The most successful off-shoots of the Congress, however, include Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party.

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