Updated: October 9, 2021 1:29:11 pm
THE party leadership has decided to convene a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) next week amid fresh turmoil and sparring by leaders in Punjab and Chhattisgarh. The meeting is expected to deliberate on the vexed issue of election for the post of Congress president to replace interim president Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress had been deferring the issue of election of Congress president citing the pandemic. And a section of leaders, especially those from the G-23, had been mounting criticism on the leadership for the delay in appointing a full-time president. Just over a week ago, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had publicly criticising the leadership over the continuing drift in the party.
In fact, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad – one of the prominent members of the group that wrote to Sonia Gandhi last year demanding sweeping changes in the party structure – had written to Sonia last month demanding a CWC meeting in the backdrop of turmoil in Punjab. Many of the members of the G-23 are unhappy with the way Amarinder Singh was ousted as Chief Minister.
Tension in the party’s Punjab unit has not subsided even after the exit of Singh. It has been 10 days since Navjot Singh Sidhu announced his resignation as Punjab Congress president but there is still no clarity on his status. The signal is that his resignation has not been accepted. While Singh has signaled that he is leaving the Congress, the issue could figure prominently at the CWC meeting.
There is continuing uncertainty in Chhattisgarh as well although Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s recent appointment as senior observer for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh was a signal that the leadership is not looking at a change of guard in Chhattisgarh any time soon.
The indications are that the CWC meeting could be stormy. While Sibal’s outburst has angered several CWC members, the protests outside his residence had not gone down well with the G-23 leaders.
G-23 members Azad, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik are members of the CWC.
Not just members of the G-23, senior leaders like P Chidambaram too had condemned the protests by Congress workers outside Sibal’s residence. “I feel helpless when we cannot start meaningful conversations within party forums. I also feel hurt and helpless when I see pictures of Congress workers raising slogans outside the residence of a colleague and MP. The safe harbour to which one can withdraw seems to be silence,” Chidambaram had posted on Twitter.
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