The churning in the Congress Thursday took a decisive turn after several All India Congress Committee secretaries, handpicked by Rahul Gandhi and upset over the frequent attacks on him from within the party, officially asked it to direct “senior” leaders to “refrain from going public” with “negative comments” on the leadership.
The letter to the party, signed by 14 young secretaries, did not name anyone, but clearly indicated who they were aiming at, saying that the leaders “who are expressing their views in public in recent times” were the “very leaders… who themselves have always been part and parcel of the highest decision making body of the party.”
Around the same time the Congress vice-president in Amethi admitted there was “tension” in the party. Four AICC secretaries — Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Harish Choudhary, Naseeb Singh and Prakash Joshi — walked into senior general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s chamber in the party headquarters with the letter, a copy of which is with The Indian Express.
Dwivedi is general secretary in-charge of the organisation.
In the letter, the secretaries said they were “observing and feeling very strongly” that of late there had been statements from “different rungs of senior Congressmen which are not in the interest of the party”.
“If there is any concern, it should be expressed in a very dignified manner and at an appropriate place within the party forum. It should be done as and when felt necessary, this is also the democratic way of working, but surely not in the way it has been done by some of our respected senior Congressmen,” the letter stated.
“We should try and do some introspection and try to work tirelessly towards improving or in fact reversing the recent political scenario. Our aim should be to make the party stronger. At this juncture, we feel our attack should be directed at our opponents who are actually working against the interest of the common masses,” it said.
The secretaries said, “Hence we recommend very strongly that we should consciously refrain from going to the public with any negative comments with regards to the party,” and urged Dwivedi to “circulate our sentiments to all senior leaders of the party.”
The unprecedented move by the secretaries to take on the seniors capped weeks of deliberations and discussions among them. While the young leaders said Rahul was apprised of their move, some of the senior leaders suggested it was being done at the behest of those close to him.
The letter was signed by 14 secretaries — Paresh Dhanani, Shakeel Ahmed Khan, A Chella Kumar, Bhupen Kumar Borah, Girish Chodankar, Harish Choudhary, Kuljit Singh Nagra, Naseeb Singh, Prakash Joshi, Rana Goswami, Sanjay Kapoor, Subhankar Sarkar, Suraj Hegde and Zubair Khan.
Hours after the letter was handed over, senior general secretary Digvijaya Singh — who had recently said that Rahul should make himself more visible — came out in support of the secretaries.
“Thank God younger generation of Congress (is) now demanding generational change which I have been suggesting since Burari AICC in 2009 December. I support the demand of secretaries of the AICC. Generational change must happen. It has been a pleasure working with my secretaries in the AICC,” he tweeted.