Updated: September 13, 2021 7:32:47 am
In a setback for the G 23 grouping in the Congress, former law minister M Veerappa Moily, who was a signatory to the letter the leaders had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi last year, on Sunday said he “hates” the word G 23 now and argued that some of the leaders are “misusing” the G 23 by “keeping it alive” through meetings and remarks in the media.
Moily also favoured the induction of poll strategist Prashant Kishor into the Congress and said his entry is part of the reform measures that Gandhi is slowly unveiling.
Moily said the 23 senior leaders, including him, had written to Gandhi to reform the party and not to weaken the party. He said the exercise has fructified as Gandhi has begun initiating reforms in the party and the G 23 should now be a “closed chapter” and not “institutionalised”.
The Indian Express contacted many leaders of the G 23 grouping but they refused to react. One leader said: “There has never been any institutional arrangement. G 23 was a name given by the media… because there were 23 signatories…. You can only dissolve and dismantle something which existed.”
Moily said there is no such institution like G 23.
“That time it [the letter] was [written] to initiate certain reform measures by Sonia Gandhi… and she is now taking that step. She has also held discussions with Prashant Kishor. She has reorganised the party in many places. She has taken decisions. So she is marching forward. What do you want? It [the letter] was not intended to change the leadership at the centre. No. She is a dynamic leader and led the party for 18-19 years. She is well experienced and now the interest she is taking will definitely lead to reforms which we desire.”
“Then why should we again and again pitch that idea. Let us stop it and allow her to take major decisions. Even for reforming the party, consulting Prashant Kishor…,” he said.
Asked what reform measures Gandhi has taken, he said, “She has taken a number of measures…through AICC appointed some observers, appointed secretaries and also she is discussing with Prashant Kishor to reorganise the party and bring back real life into the party. That is why allow her… this is the time to strengthen her hands and not weaken her hands.”
When reminded that demands like constitution of the Central Parliamentary Board for “collective thinking” and election to the central election committee have not been met, he said, “What is important is to initiate steps to reorganise the party. I don’t want to pick up one by one… points and say minus-plus. That is not our intention. She is taking initiative and I think it is taking good shape… I don’t want to analyse each point. I know what it is. She has taken good initiative and definitely in a couple of months you will see the results.”
Asked what those initiatives are, he said, “I don’t want to narrate, re-state everything. I am happy, convinced that she is on the path of rejuvenating the party. This much I can say.”
When pointed out that there were reports that some of the G 23 leaders were not happy at the prospect of Kishor joining the party and given some key election and campaign related responsibility, he said, “I am not happy with always picking up that G 23, G 23. I hate that word. There is no such G 23. All of us are anxious to strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi. She is our leader and we are here to strengthen her hands. And we should stop talking about G 23.”
On Kishor’s induction, he said, “I welcome. It is a good initiative. It is one of the major initiatives. The party needs reforms, the party needs some changes at the grassroots level and Kishor has proved that he is capable of reorganising the party for success. That is enough for us.”
“G 23 should be a closed chapter. Again and again saying G 23, G 23…What is that? I don’t think it was meant to attack the leadership. It was meant to strengthen the leadership. That is the difference.”
Moily was recently appointed as the convenor of a committee to study matters related to caste census. And earlier this year, he was made in charge of Tamil Nadu for the Assembly elections.
Asked whether these roles given by the leadership have prompted him to change his mind, he said, “I have been there all through. I have been a member of the central election committee. There was no grievance as such…because of which I signed that letter. It was for the overall recovery of the party…That was the intention. We are on that track. I am convinced about that.”
Asked how some of the leaders are misusing the G 23, Moily said: “Because repeatedly giving comments… trying to meet again…that was not the intention…the intention was to make a request to the leadership…it not against the leadership. Some of those people…signatories…their behaviour shows that as if they are against the leadership…the memorandum was done with the best of the intention as a loyal Congress leader to organise the party… some of these leaders are keeping it alive which is not right. It very badly reflects on the party discipline.”
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