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Sibal retracts tweet slamming Rahul; high drama at CWC meet

Our Bureau / PTI New Delhi | Updated on August 24, 2020

File photo of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi during Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, at AICC HQ in New Delhi   -  PTI

Sonia asks CWC to relieve her as interim party chief

The crisis in the Congress over leadership has come out in open after a sharp tweet by senior leader and MP against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The tweet created a storm in social media circles and Sibal withdrew it later.

Responding to reports that Gandhi termed the letter by 23 senior leaders as an example of collusion with the BJP, Sibal listed out the legal battles he had led against the BJP and the Union Government in a tweet. “The 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 Govt. Last 30 years have never made a statement in favour of BJP on any issue. Yet ‘we are colluding with the BJP’!” Sibal said.

Soon after this, Congress’ media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said in Twitter that Gandhi hasn’t said a word of this nature nor alluded to it. “Pl don’t be mislead by false media discourse or misinformation being spread. But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather then fighting & hurting each other & the Congress,” he said.

Responding to this, Sibal again went to Twitter to say that he has withdrawn the earlier tweet. “Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet,” Sibal said.

Sibal was also signatory in the letter sent to Sonia Gandhi. Agencies have reported that Sonia Gandhi reiterated her stand in the Congress Working Committee meeting that she must be relieved from the position. Senior leaders Manmohan Singh and AK Antony requested her continue till a new person is elected. Rahul Gandhi apparently attacked those who wrote the letter and questioned its timing. He reportedly said the letter should not have been discussed in the public before the CWC takes a call on it.

Earlier, PTI reported: Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday offered to quit, asking the Congress Working Committee to initiate the process for selecting a new party chief.

In her opening remarks at the meeting, called in the wake of a section of leaders seeking a “full time and visible” Congress president, Sonia Gandhi made the offer to quit saying she had given a detailed reply on the issue to AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke after Gandhi, urged her to continue, so did former Defence Minister A K Antony, with both the veterans criticising the letter by some party leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, who are a part of the CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body.

Sources said Sonia Gandhi referred to Azad and others twice during her brief address and the issues raised by them.

She also handed over a detailed reply to Venugopal, who read out its contents at the CWC meeting in which Gandhi sought to be relieved from the post.

Earlier, Our Bureau reported, the Congress Working Committee, which will meet here on Monday, is all likely to repose confidence on president Sonia Gandhi amid reports that she has asked the party to find a new president. A controversy has erupted after 23 top leaders wrote to her demanding more active involvement from the leadership in dealing with the political and organisational crisis faced by the principal Opposition party.

The meeting, which will be held online through video-conferencing, will discuss the letter sent by the 23 leaders — many of whom are members of the top panel of the party. A number of leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, have come out openly in support of Sonia Gandhi. Gehlot even criticised the letter sent by the leaders.

Move ‘unfortunate’

Gehlot termed the move as unfortunate. “News of 23 senior-most Congress leaders writing letter to Hon’ble CP is unbelievable and if it is true — it’s very unfortunate was no need to go in media. I strongly believe that Hon’ble CP Sonia Gandhi ji should continue to lead the party at this crucial juncture where the fight is to save the ethos of our democracy. She has always taken challenges head on. But if she has made up her mind — I believe @RahulGandhi should come ahead and be the Congress President as country faces the biggest challenge to save our constitution-democracy,” he said in Twitter.

Gandhi reportedly asked party’s general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal to start looking for a successor for her. “A meeting of the Congress Working Committee will be held on Monday, August 24, 2020 at 11.00 am via video-conferencing,” Venugopal said in Twitter.

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Published on August 24, 2020
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