Sonia-Rahul emerge more powerful after CWC meet; dissenters plan to seek support from Pawar, Mamata
The 23 senior Congress leaders’ attempt to pressurise the Gandhis to make way for a non-Gandhi to take control of the Grand Old Party not only backfired, it also spectacularly boomeranged on them yesterday. One of the rebels, Mukul Wasnik, has already apologised to Sonia and
The group now faces a tough prospect of having to choose among themselves a
With the unflinching, public support from loyalists
By taking a lead towards organisational polls, Sonia aims to protect herself and the party from any possible legal wrangling. There is a credible talk that the dissenters had prepared three drafts, of which one was addressed to the Chief Justice of India drawing his attention towards lack of internal democracy in the party. Sanjay Jha, the former All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary who was recently suspended for anti-party activity and who confirmed the existence of the letter by the dissenters much before it was published in the media, broadly hinted at it. Participating in Barkha Dutt’s show when the CWC meeting was in progress yesterday, Jha said, “If the Congress leadership acts against any of the signatories (of the letter), we will take legal recourse.”
The Congress insiders say a sixmonth cushion satisfies Rahul’s doggedness to seek “more time” in order to return as the 87th AICC chief. Apparently, Rahul was reluctant to return as the party boss before the Bihar elections (fearing a drubbing) and Sonia making enough room for him to accommodate ‘Team Rahul’ in the AICC.
In fact, as Mumbai Mirror had been reporting (‘What’s eating the Congress?’, August 19), the promotion of Hardik Patel, Ajay Makan and others was causing lot of heartburn among those who were fancying themselves as more deserving. In a political party, there is no scope to get a ‘stay’ on such appointments before, during, or after the party polls. Sonia yesterday went public expressing a sense of “hurt” over the timing of the letter which was reportedly delivered on August 7 when she was admitted to Sir Gangaram Hospital, and Rahul and Priyanka were battling the Rajasthan political crisis. In a single stroke, she has lowered the in-house prestige of the 23 dissenters.
What is more significant is that veterans Manmohan Singh, AK Antony and Amarinder Singh echoed her sentiments. In 1998 when
A draft was circulated and many “fence-sitters” joined on “impulse” shortly after the July 30 ‘showdown’ between Team Rahul and a few Congress leaders who served as ministers in Manmohan-led UPA. The provocation was Congress general secretaries Rajiv Satav and Shaktisinh Gohil finding fault with a few UPA ministers denting party’s image during the 2009-14 UPA regime. This heated exchange had taken place in Sonia and Manmohan’s presence. Sibal, Tharoor, Tiwari, Jitin Prasada and few others had tweeted championing the UPA’s achievements and questioning the rationale of holding the UPA rule responsible for the Congress’ worst ever electoral defeat in 2014.
Some leaders felt it was a “command performance” to show the UPA ministers in a poor light. Azad, who has seen it all, would be aworried man. In 1999 when Jitin Prasada’s father Jitendra Prasada contested against Sonia for the post of AICC chief, she bagged 99% of votes.
Atthattime, Azadwascaught in a bind. Kesri used to consider him his favourite bhatija (nephew) even as Azad was deeply indebted to Pawar. The gratitude stemmed from reasons ranging from Pawar ensuring his victory in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections from Washim in Maharashtra to constantly mobilising resources for the Rajya Sabha polls. As Azad dithered and pleaded sick, Kesri became restless over his defiance.
Till his death, Kesri continued to lament how Azad kept fiddling with a stick, made of Amaltas tree wood that supposedly had some miraculous medicinal properties capable of treating arange of ailments such as microbial infection, constipation, common cold, intestinal and skin disorders, dyspepsia, flatulence and inflammation. Sunday, the eve of the CWC meeting, was a busy day in the Congress circles. At 15, Gurudrwara Rakabgunj Marg that works as the party’s war room, Rahul could be heard shouting for about ten minutes regarding the ‘letter leak’ and the sinister designs behind it. Rahul has been staying at 10, Janpath these days to attend to his ailing mother. His residence at 12, Tuqlaq Crescent is barely two km away where his pets have been waiting for their master to return.
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