G-23 target: Rahul Gandhi.

G-23 target: Rahul Gandhi.

Congress vs Congress: G-23 rebels smarting under BJP-tag; Gandhis silent

Ahmed Patel, Venugopal in new group for better Parliament coordination

Agency Report | New Delhi | 27 August, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Calling it "outrageous" and "obtuse", Congress rebel Sanjay Jha hits out at Haryana Congress leader Kumari Selja for accusing 23 Congress dissenters of siding with the BJP and getting away with it.

Referring to the stormy CWC meeting and thereafter, Jha said, “No one in the party has asked her to retract her statement which was both outrageous and obtuse. But then there are many who deliberately outshout dissenting protests to please their bosses. It is obsequious behaviour.”

Referring to the intimidation and accusations against the 23 dissenters who have come to be known as “G-23″ by other Congress leaders during the recent Congress Working Committee meeting, Jha labelled it “absurd”.

Saying he was “stunned” at the proceedings, Jha said, “Personally, I am somewhat disappointed that Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik were singled out and attacked and labelled anti-Congress. It is absurd.”

He also claimed that there are more Congress dissenters who are about to come out in the open in the coming days. The party was rocked by a major row where 23 leaders including sitting Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a complete overhaul of the party.

Claiming that there are 300 Congressmen who have signed up demanding the party’s total overhaul, Jha said, “Other signatories will speak up in due course for sure”.

He said that the Congress has no talent deficit for the top post in the party, and added it is a matter of “opportunity” which needs to be given.

Interestingly, Jha praised Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for her “sharp political instincts” and described her as “people-friendly”. The now sacked Congressman said Priyanka possesses “extraordinary organisational skills”.

Rubbishing any possibility of joining any other political outfit, Jha sounded confident this dissent will help the Congress come out “stronger, fitter and faster”. But for that he has advice — “We need to look in the mirror”.

To ensure better coordination and functioning in the upcoming Parliament session, the Congress has brought party veteran Ahmed Patel and party General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal into a new group.

A senior Congress leader linked to the development said, “The post of Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha was lying vacant for which the name of Gaurav Gogoi has been finalised, while Ravneet Bittu has been made the deputy whip of Lok Sabha along with Manickam Tagore.”

K. Suresh remains the chief whip of Lok Sabha.

He further said that Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma will stay on as leader of Opposition and deputy leader of Opposition, respectively, while Jairam Ramesh will remain the chief whip in Rajya Sabha.

“Besides these three leaders, Patel and Venugopal have been added in the committee for Rajya Sabha for better functioning and coordination in both the Houses of the Parliament,” the Congress leader said.

The move comes ahead of the Parliament session scheduled in September.

Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur unit of the Congress sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi demanding expulsion of former Union Minister Jitin Prasada, who was one of the signatories in the letter written to the party president on the eve of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting seeking a leadership change.

Lakhimpur is a part of Dhaurhara which is Prasada’s constituency.

Congress workers, on Wednesday night, staged a demonstration at the party office and shouted slogans against Prasada.

In their letter, party workers claimed that Jitin Prasada and his family had always been against the Gandhi family and his father, late Jitendra Prasada, had even contested the party elections against Sonia Gandhi.

Jitin Prasada is a special CWC invitee.

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal took to Twitter to allege that Jitin was being officially targeted in Uttar Pradesh. “Unfortunate that Jitin Prasada is being officially targeted in UP. Congress needs to target the BJP with surgical strikes instead of wasting its energy by targeting its own,” said Sibal.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee maintained a studied silence on the campaign against Prasada which led the party veterans to allege that the campaign was being orchestrated by the state leadership. (IANS)