New Delhi(HS): While the Congress office-bearer from Mumbai made news yesterday by revolting against the unchallenged election of Rahul Gandhi as the president of the Congress, slated for December, few know that Shehzad Poonawalla is related to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty’s heir.
Shehzad Poonawalla is the younger brother of Tehseen Poonawala who, in turn, is married to Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s sister Monicka.
At a time when Congress is busy completing the formality of organising the election of its president, and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi is all set to take over the reins of the party, Maharashtra Congress secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Wednesday had slammed the process of election of the party president. The younger Poonawalla has called the process “rigged”, claiming that he had the information that the delegates, who were going to vote for the election, were fixed.
“I have got information that the delegates, who are going to vote for the party president election, are fixed. This process is rigged. They have been appointed for their loyalty,” said Poonawalla.
“The election is a selection and not an election. It’s a sham election process,” he quipped.
Poonawalla had earlier told the media he would want to contest the election if it was conducted in a genuine manner. Adding to this, he stated, “I think there should be only one ticket in one family, be it Shehzad Poonawalla or Rahul Gandhi.”
Dissociating himself with the view of Shehzad Poonawalla, his elder brother Tehseen tweeted, “I really don’t know why @Shehzad_Ind did this, it’s very surprising, he did not discuss this at all with the family. Washing dirty linen in public is wrong. We now have nothing to do with him, I publicly say this.”
In a series of tweets, Tehseen announced to end his relationship with Shehzad “officially” and defended the move of his party. “It is totally unacceptable to me and my family that @Shehzad_Ind has dragged Mrs Gandhi into this, he should have presented whatever issues he had in the party forum,” Tehseen Poonawalla tweeted.
Advocating that the electing Rahul as Congress president is need of the time to strengthen his party, he tweeted, “I believe Congress needs to strengthen Rahul Gandhi and other leaders. Needs to win Gujarat and then focus on Karnataka, MP Rajasthan and other states before the LokSabha elections. All grievances must be put up at appropriate forums, not in media. I disassociate with Shehzad Poonawalla!”
In another tweet, Tehseen said, “I have got Shehzad Poonawalla up as my child. It pains me deeply to see him do this. This is totally unacceptable. We need to strengthen the Congress and allies to win. Any grievance could have been put up at appropriate forums. My wife and I disassociate with him.”
Monicka Vadera, wife of Tehseen, also endorsed her husband and tweeted this morning, “I stand by & support my husband @tehseenp & all of his statements. My family & I neither have any relation, association nor wish to comment on the issue or the said individual Shehzad Poonawalla. Please refrain from tweeting/contacting me for the same.”
However, Shehzad said, “Some are loyal to the family, some are loyal to the country.”
Poonawalla responded by tweeting a quote by Martin Luther King that implied he was simply following his conscience.
“I know from tomorrow all kinds of stories will start – I will be targeted 🙂 I am an active Maharashtra Congress Secretary & nobody had any problems till today but new stories to target me will come 🙂 prepared for it- I want Non Dynasts & Merit over Dynasty !! Am I wrong?” he tweeted.
Earlier on Wednesday, Poonawalla, claiming that the poll process to elect the Congress president has been stacked in Rahul’s favour just because he belongs to the Gandhi family, took to Twitter and said, “Raising an issue nobody in my party – the Congress will have guts to raise- my conscience will not allow me to stay quiet anymore on Dynasty/ sycophancy.”
He also tagged his brother, Tehseen Poonawalla, in his tweet, and wrote, “@tehseenp has no idea about this issue else he would have stopped me too.”
Meanwhile, Poonawalla’s move triggered various kinds of reactions from the Twitterati.
It may be recalled that Robert Vadra had also disassociated himself with his family members by putting an ad in newspapers.
Hindusthan Samachar/Amit Kumar