Days after an explosive letter by 23 senior Congress urging Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to effect a complete overhaul in the party created a brouhaha within the Congress, in another letter, nine expelled Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders have asked Sonia to “rise above affinity for family” and restore constitutional and democratic values in the party.
Taking a dig at Uttar Pradesh Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress leaders alleged that while she believes whatever is fed to her by the state Congress leaders, she doesn’t bother to meet leaders beyond her coterie.
The signatories of the letter include former MP Santosh Singh, former minister Satyadev Tripathi, former MLAs Vinod Chaudhary, Bhoodar Narain Mishra, Nekchand Pandey, Swayam Prakash Goswami and Sanjeev Singh. They were among 10 expelled from the primary leadership of the party for opposing the party leadership and allegedly maligning the image of the party.
The signatories have told Sonia that the party posts were being occupied by salaried ‘leaders’ who are neither familiar with its ideology nor are primary members, yet are empowered enough to “give direction to the party in UP.”
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“These people are the ones who are assessing the performances of those leaders who stood like a rock in the Congress during the 1977-80 crisis. Democratic norms are being thrown to the winds and senior leaders are being targeted, insulted and expelled. In fact, we were informed of our expulsion from the media which speaks of the new work culture in the state unit,” the letter read.
The letter writers said that at present there was no communication between party leaders and cadres and the way the party was being run has created “confusion and depression among ordinary party workers.”
“Please rise above the affinity for the family, and as per traditions, restore the expression of thoughts, constitutional and democratic values, and run the organisation by establishing communication and mutual trust,” they urged Sonia.
The letter comes a few days after another by senior Congress leaders to Sonia went viral. The leaders had asked for a “full-time, visible leadership” and proposed organisation changes including decentralisation of power.
It was followed by a marathon Congress Working Committee Meeting where Gandhi proposed to step down from her post, but was persuaded by her loyalists to continue as the interim chief until the All India Congress Committee (AICC) holds its next session.
The development saw many organisational changes and the formation of several committees, which, however, saw the sidelining of the signatories of the earlier letter.
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On Sunday, the Congress leadership entrusted senior Congress leader Salman Khursid of leading a team that will prepare the Congress manifesto ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due for 2022. Congress leaders like Jitin Prasad and Raj Babbar who were signatories to the first letter have found no seat in the new committees.
Also, leaders like Nirmal Khatri and Naseeb Pathan, who had pilloried the letter writers have found place in the committees.