Amid growing attacks against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the wake of the worst electoral debacle suffered by Congress, the party on Monday stood firmly behind them saying the Nehru-Gandhi family has provided “stellar leadership” both in times of adversity and victory.
Dismissing the notion of any bickering within its ranks, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala dubbed the critics as “one or two disgruntled elements who helped BJP in the parliamentary polls”.
Accusing them of carrying forward “similar agenda” they carried prior to the polls, he said state units will take appropriate action against them.
His remarks came close on the heels of the Kerala and Rajasthan units suspending party leaders — T H Mustafa and Bhanwar Lal Sharma — for attacking Rahul and dubbing him as “joker” and “MD of Congress circus” respectively.
Surjewala also said some of them were suspended earlier too.
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There is absolutely no question of any disenchantment or disrespect against the Congress leadership, he said.
Surjewala said Sonia and Rahul had, on their own, individually and collectively accepted their responsibility for the debacle in the Congress Working Committee.
He said the party has rewritten agenda for the country and many times reinvented “ourselves” and became the voice of the people.
“The Nehru-Gandhi family has seen the party through good and bad times. They have provided a stellar leadership both in times of adversity and victory,” the spokesperson said.
Surjewala stressed that the party, under the leadership of Sonia and Rahul, “will continue to play the role of nation building and reinvent ourselves to once again become the voice of people”.
The entire rank and file of the Congress “love, respect and cherish the leadership of both Sonia and Rahul,” he said. Surjewala also had a word of caution for party leaders speaking out of their turn and reminded them of the message of Sonia who had made it plain that leaders should not fight in public domain.
“My advice to all those friends who make such public comments is that they should read the three-line message of Sonia Gandhi. I would humbly and strongly request all members and leaders of the Congress to convey their opinion on party forum as advised by the Congress President,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson also downplayed controversy over Sonia’s meeting with Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in the run up to the polls, saying leaders of various religious groups do meet the Congress President.
“That does not mean that the Congress President or the party shares the view of every person meeting her. To draw such inference is wrong,” he said.
He said the Congress President had neither sought a meeting with the Shahi Imam nor appealed for any community’s vote as it militates against the very ethos of the party. Surjewala parried a question about party General Secretary Digvijay Singh’s reported comments that the Shahi Imam was a communal person and not secular.