Rahul says dissenters helping BJP; Sibal tweets angry rebuttal, withdraws

Rahul’s intervention came after former PM Manmohan Singh said the “dissenters” were trying to hobnob with the Hindutva party

Photo: PTI (File)

As the crucial Congress Working Committee meeting got underway on Monday (August 24), Rahul Gandhi reportedly questioned the timing of a letter written by at least 23 top party leaders, demanding change in the party leadership, accusing them of colluding with the BJP, prompting ‘pro-reform’ leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, to reject the accusation.

Within minutes of Rahul’s ‘allegation’, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is one of the signatories to the letter, in an acerbic tweet pointed how leaders like him who have never made a statement in favour of the BJP in the past 30 years are suddenly being accused of colluding with the saffron party.

“Rahul Gandhi says ‘we are colluding with BJP’… (We) succeeded in Rajasthan High Court defending the Congress Party. (We are) defending the 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’!” he tweeted.

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Sibal, however, withdrew the tweet later, stating that he was personally informed by Rahul that he never made the statement attributed to him. As the crucial Congress Working Committee meeting got under way on Monday (August 24), Rahul Gandhi reportedly questioned the timing of a letter written by over 20 top party leaders demanding change in the party leadership, accusing them of colluding with the BJP, prompting ‘pro-reform’ leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, to reject the accusation.

Rahul’s intervention came after former PM Manmohan Singh said the “dissenters” were trying to hobnob with the Hindutva party.

“For whom was this done?” Rahul questioned angrily, adding that the letter had “hurt” his ailing mother.

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Rahul’s intervention came after former PM Manmohan Singh said the “dissenters” were trying to hobnob with the Hindutva party.,” indicating a challenge to Sonia’s leadership.

The signatories include Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Vivek Tankha and Anand Sharma. Azad, a Rajya Sabha member has always been a Gandhi loyalist, and is a part of the CWC.

The letter is “unfortunate”, the former PM reportedly said. “Weakening the high command is weakening the Congress,” he said.

Senior party leader AK Antony reportedly said: “More than the letter, contents of the letter were cruel.” He also spoke about “the sacrifices of Sonia Gandhi,” and urged Rahul Gandhi to take over as Congress chief.

Priyanka Gandhi too hit back at Ghulam Nabi Azad, says “what you are saying is opposite of what you have written in the letter”.

Azad tried to defend himself, saying he would resign if he was in any manner helping the BJP or doing something at its behest.

Sonia Gandhi in her communication to the party has said: “A year has lapsed now. In the interest of the party, I ask CWC to begin deliberations to put in a place of process of transition to relieve me from my duties.”

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