A week after the show of strength in Jammu by a section of the group of 23 dissenters (G-23) from the Congress, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday struck a conciliatory note by stating that he and his colleagues were willing to campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
“For the next two months, our priority would be the election and try and work for a Congress win,” Mr. Azad told reporters at an informal meeting at his residence.
“My colleagues and I will be campaigning whereever the party or any candidate ask us to campaign,” he added.
The former Leader of the Opposition’s comment is significant as the public meeting in Jammu on February 27 had raised uncomfortable questions, especially when the Congress was in the middle of Assembly elections.
Mr Azad’s comment will now put to rest speculation that G-23 were planning more Jammu-like meets in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, three north Indian States where the Congress is in direct contest with the BJP, while Asssembly elections are on.
The veteran Congress leader’s comments appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “humble” roots and an outright attack by Anand Sharma, another G-23 leader, on Congress’ alliance with Abbas Siddiqui-led Indian Secular Front in West Bengal has sparked an open war of words between Mr. Sharma and Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Hitting back at Mr. Sharma, Mr. Chowdhury had tweeted, “Those who are committed to fighting against #BJP parties venomous communalism should support the Congress & campaign for the party in five States rather than attempting to undermine the party by remarks in tune with BJP’s agenda. Would urge a select group of distinguished Congressmen to rise above always seeking personal comfort spots & stop wasting time singing praises of PM. They owe a duty to strengthen the Party & not undermine the tree that nurtured them”.