Senior INC politician Ghulam Nabi Azad, who sought to change the dynamics of the party and hold an election for a new president, said today that his 22 colleagues and he had written the contentious letter to the party leadership to rejuvenate the organisation. “We are among those who formed the INC after 1970. We will suffer when those who do not know anything about elections criticise us. We have been working with several prime ministers and presidents. Something must have happened now that we have spoken up,” he said.
“Those who have not come to do anything, they protest. Whoever is interested in Congress will welcome our view. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) should be elected. There is no real Congressman with the current president. And there have been presidents who had no one with them. In the CWC, you cannot remove anyone, but today I have been removed,” Azad said.
Azad recalls family ties with the Nehru-Gandhis
Azad said, “We are in the opposition now. The ruling party is very strong. If the INC has to sit in the opposition for 50 years, the leadership may go ahead and not hold elections in the CWC. What do I gain from this?”
“I have had family relationships with the Gandhi family. But these sycophants have become more adorable today! A leader sometimes has to speak to correct things if he is really loyal. We are accused of being with someone else. We doubt who you are with,” Azad said, directing the barb at his rivals in the party.
Azad said Sonia Gandhi had told him it was all right if he was among the signatories of the letter, but it should not have been leaked. “But what does not leak in India? What was the national secret in it? We had written a letter to PV Narasimha Rao too, asking why he was not making Pradesh Congress Committees (state units of the party)? After that, we lost the election,” the leader from Kashmir recalled.
Azad said, “Our intention is to make the Congress active and strong. But those who have come with appointment cards will oppose our proposal. After all, if there is a CWC election and there are elected members for the appointed time, what is the harm?”
“We have proposed that the election beginning with that for the district presidents up to that for the party president in the states be held. The entire CWC should be elected. Those who are really interested in the party will welcome this proposal,” Azad added.
Around the time that Azad was saying the above to the media, Sonia Gandhi declared Jairam Ramesh as the new whip of the party. She formed two committees, one each for the management of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. In the committee for the lower house, Gaurav Gogoi and Ravneet Singh Bittu will boss over seniors Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor. In the counterpart for the upper house, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal will rein in Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad.