The letter to AICC president seeking organisational overhaul reflects the “insecurities and political ambitions of the certain signatories,” Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar Sunday said.
“Now that Sonia Gandhi has clearly stated that the party organization and president would be elected in six months, it is unfortunate that some leaders continue making unwanted statements,” Jakhar said.
Such statements become even more ridiculous as the demand for elections (within the party) are being made by the leaders who either never contested the elections themselves or may not even remember when they contested last, Jakhar said.
Pointing that there were inherent contradictions in the letter written by the 23 Congress leaders, he said, the signatories target “Rahul Gandhi for abetting division within the ranks” by holding Youth Congress elections, and on the other hand they want elections to be held from block level to the national body despite pandemic crisis. “Is it not applying double standards? Will these elections then not create rift in the party itself. Instead of giving a serious thought before making statements on the issue, some leaders are trying only to protect their positions, which was a sign of frustration and weakness,” Jakhar added.
Jakhar recalled that in the party’s general meeting in 2018, the very leaders who are now talking about party elections had proposed that instead of holding polls, the party president should be authorised to appoint the working committee.
He said that a leader had tried to justify the Congress Working Committee elections on the pretext that the person elected in this way will have a guaranteed tenure and would be able to speak his mind without fear of losing his seat. “I believe that any person, whether elected or nominated, who doesn’t have the courage of his conviction and is unable to speak his mind for fear of loosing his position, has no right to be on the decision making body of the party,” Jakhar said.
The PPCC chief said that, in fact, some leaders had lost self-confidence and had forgotten how high their status in the party was. He said that such status was not due to membership of any House but due to their experience and contribution to the party. Those holding high positions in the party should realize that their political standing would not be affected with the expiry of their Rajya Sabha memberships.
Commenting on the idea of a ‘collective leadership’ suggestions made by some leaders, Jakhar said, “I want to assure that they will always be a part of the party’s collective leadership as the party has invested a lot in them and wants to benefit from their decades long experience.”
“Of course, I am a supporter of democracy in the party but there should be regular brainstorming within the party and the modalities of its implementation should be worked out through mutual deliberation,” he added.
A group of 23 signatories that included the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and Shashi Tharoor, had written to Sonia Gandhi, seeking an active and full-time party leadership among other organisational changes. After the stormy
Congress Working Committee meeting over their letter seeking urgent organisational reforms, several members of the ‘group of 23’ have stated that they are “not dissenters” but “proponents of revival”.