Follow Us:
Thursday, January 27, 2022

‘Told Azad to go to J&K as PCC president, he refused’: Rahul purportedly tells Raut

In a ‘Saamna’ piece, Shiv Sena leader details his recent meetings with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi; Rahul opens up, as quoted by Raut, about Capt Amarinder too, says Congress has given a lot to senior leaders who are exiting the party when it needs them

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: December 13, 2021 3:27:26 pm
Raut said when he broached the case of former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Rahul explained the reason why Amrinder was asked to quit.

Amid the Shiv Sena’s growing proximity with the Congress, Sena MP Sanjay Raut Sunday said that top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told him that the Congress has given a lot to its senior leaders, some of whom were deserting the party when it needed them. Rahul also told Raut he has never disrespected any leader.

“Yes, Rahul Gandhi told me he has never shown any disrespect to any senior leader,” Raut told The Indian Express.

In his weekly column, “Rokthok”, published in the Sena mouthpiece “Saamna” on Sunday, Raut has detailed what transpired during his separate meetings with Rahul and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi in the national capital in recent days.

Raut stated that when he asked Rahul about some disgruntled senior leaders’ bid to quit the Congress, “Rahul said the party has given the seniors a lot. Today, the party needs them but they are taking a different stand. What can I do? Tell me, two names of such leaders.”

Raut said when he broached the case of former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Rahul explained the reason why Amrinder was asked to quit. “Rahul said during Amarinder’s tenure, the Congress graph in Punjab went down which was a key reason for his replacement,” he stated.

“We conducted a poll in which only six per cent people favoured him as the CM. Those who were not in CM’s race, were favoured more than Amarinder,” Rahul purportedly told Raut during their hour-long conversation.

Rahul, according to Raut, went on: “We called him (Amarinder) and told him to fulfil the promises made to the people during the campaigning, his response was poor. (We said,) Do something or the party will have to take some action. Then, party’s seniors stood by him. I was told not to take stern action…If we had not replaced Amarinder, then Congress’ existence in Punjab would have come under threat. What should we do with these seniors? I have never disrespected anyone of them.”

Raut said when he asked him about Ghulam Nabi Azad, who too is upset with the Congress leadership, Rahul denied disrespecting the senior party leader from J&K. “What disrespect have I shown to him? He has held several posts as Congress leader. In Rajya Sabha, he was the Opposition leader. When his tenure ended, I held a discussion with him. I told him to go to Jammu and Kashmir and hold the reins as the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) president in view of the coming elections. (And told him) You can become the chief minister again,” Rahul told Raut.

But Azad refused to go to J&K, Rahul told Raut, who then quotes him in his column as adding that “Azad said Congress has no existence in the state. Azad was the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and according to him, Congress does not exist anymore in that state. But now Azad is holding public meetings in J&K…Yes, there might be some other reasons behind this.”

Raut, who also met Priyanka Gandhi, says “both the siblings speak in one voice”. “If she is asked about political stand on a particular issue, she coolly repies that she will have to consult her brother…Iss per bhaiyya se baat karni padengi, bhaiyya ko poochna padenga (I’ll have to talk to my brother on this, I’ll have to check with him). We discussed issues from Delhi to Goa and Uttar Pradesh…Priyanka is confident that these (tough) days (for the Congress) will change,” he said.

In his piece, Raut also stated it was Rahul who had said that the Narendra Modi government will have to repeal the three controversial farm laws. “It was Rahul Gandhi who had said, ‘Mark my words, government will have take back the black laws.’ But the media has conveniently forgotten what Rahul Gandhi had said so strongly…This is because media is no more independent today,” he wrote.

Raut said when he asked Priyanka whether she was also living at 10, Janpath with her mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, she said she has been living in an apartment near Khan Market in Delhi since the Modi government had “thrown her out of her residence”. “But I can’t meet people there, so I meet them at this place (10, Janpath)” Priyanka purportedly told Raut.

Criticising the Modi government, Raut said, “Priyanka’s grandmother (Indira Gandhi) and father (Rajiv Gandhi) died in terror attacks. Yet the BJP government has failed to provide a government accommodation for her to ensure her security.”

Raut said Priyanka told her that not just in Maharashtra and West Bengal, the BJP was allegedly threatening Opposition leaders with the CBI and the ED in Delhi as well. “When I went to Lakhimpur Kheri, my husband (Robert Vadra) was served 69 notices by the Income Tax. But I will not step back, I will fight on…,” Priyanka told the Sena leader.

Raut said those who were writing obituaries of the Congress should remember that after every defeat, the Congress has emerged stronger. “Congress has been consistently losing in last 10 years. However, in the recent bypolls, it has emerged victorious, forcing the Modi government to repeal the three farm laws,” he claimed.

In recent days, the Sena has sought to rise strongly in defence of the Congress party on various issues. The Sena leads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra, which also comprises of the Congress and the NCP.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena had recently castigated West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for dismissing the Congress-led UPA Opposition grouping and criticising Rahul Gandhi. In a hard-hitting editorial, Saamna, which is edited by Raut, had made it clear that a credible, robust Opposition against the BJP dispensation would not be possible without the inclusion of the Congress as a key player.

By reaching out to Gandhis, the Sena apparently seeks to ensure a smooth passage for its Maharashtra government, even as it is also eyeing the possibility of forming an alliance with the Congress in upcoming Assembly elections in Goa and UP.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Pune News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard