The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday saw intense action and reactions between the members amid open rebellion after former Congress President Rahul Gandhi targeted party leaders for their timing in asking for a leadership change, while Ghulam Nabi Azad promised to quit if proven to have colluded with the BJP, Kapil Sibal reminded of his unwavering fight to keep the party together.
While Haryana Congress leader accused the dissenters of colluding with the BJP calling them "agent" of the saffron party, Randeep Singh Surjewala tried to calm nerves and made it clear that no such remark was made by Rahul Gandhi and neither did he endorse the pitch.
The Congress asked the party leaders to not focus on the "media reports" and said that the former party chief "did not say a word of this nature". Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: "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 (Narendra) Modi rule rather than fighting and hurting each other and the Congress."
Surjewala was responding to a tweet by senior party leader Kapil Sibal, in which he said: "Rahul Gandhi 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'!"
His remarks came soon after Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he will quit the party if proven that he was colluding with the ruling BJP. Party sources said that the senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said this while countering Selja's charges.
Azad said, "If you can prove that I am colluding with BJP, I will quit right now." Azad also praised Sonia Gandhi for leading the party amid the difficult times. Selja targeted the dissenters at the highest decision making body of the party, for writing the letter seeking leadership change and called the leaders who wrote it as "agents" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The remarks from the senior Congress leaders came soon after Rahul Gandhi on Monday targeted the party dissenters and questioned the timing of a letter which was sent to interim chief Sonia Gandhi seeking leadership change.
Congress sources said that Rahul Gandhi at the CWC said, "What was the reason to write a letter when Sonia Gandhi was admitted in hospital and when the party was fighting the political crisis in Rajasthan." Sonia Gandhi was admitted in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on July 30 for routine check-up and was discharged on August 2. While the Rajasthan political crisis began on July 11 when former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot rebelled against the party leadership. The Rajasthan crisis was taken care of by the top leadership on August 11.
Earlier as the CWC meeting began, Sonia Gandhi offered to step down from the party's top post. The move was rejected by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he asked her to continue. As the meeting progressed, senior Congress leader A.K. Antony also questioned the letter written by several party leaders urging for sweeping reforms, and "a full-time, visible leadership".
The CWC meeting comes weeks after the Congress saw a stormy meeting of its Rajya Sabha MPs wherein certain leaders sought introspection on the 2019 poll debacle.
It was thereafter, a bunch of leaders wrote the letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.