23 Congress leaders call for changes in party, write to Sonia Gandhi; CWC meet tomorrow


New Delhi: In an unprecedented move to call for changes in the Congress, 23 top leaders of the party, including those from the Congress Working Committee (CWC), have written to president Sonia Gandhi over the state of affairs in the party. The CWC has called for a meeting on Monday and will be discussing organisational issues. As per sources, the letter will be at the centre of the talks.

The letter is said to be signed by both veteran leaders as well as the young brigade including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari, Raj Babbar, Arvinder Singh Lovely, and Sandeep Dikshit.

The CWC meeting assumes significance as it is happening at a time when its top leaders are allegedly divided over the manner in which the party is being run. CWC is the highest decision-making body of Congress.

The letter that was shot to Sonia Gandhi about two weeks ago called for the need for or a clear-cut mechanism to govern the party with effective central leadership that is active and also visible on the ground. The letter also demanded re-election of the CWC and the establishment of an effective collective system of responsibility.

While Rahul Gandhi has shown no interest in assuming the charge so far, his return as the party president is also being opposed vehemently by a section of Congress leaders.

There are reports that Sonia Gandhi could be persuaded to continue as interim president. However, with political activities coming up in the near future, including assembly polls in some states, there are doubts if she would be willing to put herself through the strain.

“Another possibility that is being talked about in party circles is that a senior leader of the stature of Dr Manmohan Singh or AK Antony could be asked to lead the party,” a party source had told India Today TV.

According to sources, the letter has stressed that the revival of the Congress is a “national imperative” and is intrinsic to the health of democracy. It also points out how the party’s downfall comes at a time when the party faces “gravest political, social and economic challenges since Independence”.

It further mentions the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and how the support of youth and public confidence has bolstered.

The letter also calls for organisational elections at all levels in the party – from the block level to the CWC.

It scathingly criticises the CWC and also talks about how it has not been able to live up to its role. It says that meetings are rare and more of a belated reaction to political developments. In fact, it adds that the CWC has been unable to guide the party out of troubled times.

The letter first raised controversy when suspended Congress member Sanjay Jha tweeted about it earlier this week.

However, Congress refuted the claims, saying Sanjay Jha was spreading rumours on the directions of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Congress also said the party president received no such letter.

Congress said Sanjay Jha was not a member of the party and was merely spreading rumours on directions from the BJP to divert the country’s attention from the¬†Facebook-BJP link.

“There is no such letter and the Congress high command is not in receipt of any such letter. Sanjay Jha is not a member of the Congress party and he is spreading canards on directions from the BJP to divert attention from the Facebook-BJP link expose,” Congress said.

Reacting to the letter controversy, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala took a swipe at the BJP, alleging that it has, in a WhatsApp message, directed “BJP stooges” to divert the attention from the Facebook-BJP links with the “non-existent letter”.