Sonia stays in charge of Cong after acrimonious CWC meet
LEADERSHIP Dissent letter-writers face flak from colleagues; CWC authorises Sonia to make organisational changes
NEWDELHI: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday resolved that Sonia Gandhi will continue as party president until an All India Congress Committee (AICC) session is convened, rejecting the concerns raised by 23 Congress leaders who criticised the functioning of the party and asked for structural changes in a controversial letter whose contents became public last week.
The CWC — held in the backdrop of the first-ever show of dissent by prominent leaders against the party’s first family — authorised Sonia Gandhi to effect any necessary organisational changes, reaffirmed its faith in both Sonia and former president Rahul Gandhi.
There was sharp criticism of those who signed the letter at the party’s highest decision-making body, which met for seven hours on Monday and witnessed stormy exchanges between the leaders.the discussion focused largely on the timing of the letter, the intent behind it, and its leak; rather than on its contents.
Rahul Gandhi led the attack on the signatories by saying it came when the Congress was fighting political battles in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and Sonia Gandhi was in hospital. The CWC, in its formal resolution, also emphasised that issues must be raised within party forums in the interest of “propriety and dis
cipline”, and not “through the media or in public fora”.
Only four of the 23 leaders who signed the letter are CWC members, which made them eligible to attend the meeting — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada. Attacked for criticising the leadership, the dissidents expressed their support for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, claimed that the letter
was not intended to question the leadership of the Nehru-gandhi family, and it had been “misconstrued”, but asserted that it had been written within the limits of a democratic party.
According to people familiar with the contents of the letter, sent on August 7, a set of leaders — which also included Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Bhupinder Singh Hooda,
and Milind Deora, among others — criticised the lack of honest introspection after electoral defeats, and asked for a full-time, effective, “active” and “visible” president; elections at all levels in the party (including the CWC); establishing an institutional leadership model to collectively guide the party; and a national coalition with like-minded parties, among other steps.