The CWC meeting on Monday ended with interim party chief Sonia Gandhi being asked to continue for the time being and an “all is well” vibe given by Congress. The meeting of CWC came in wake of the letter written by 23 leaders who questioned the party leadership. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is one of the signatories, said that the letter was written to the high command because appointing a ‘third person’ as interim president of the party would have been a disaster.
He said any third person coming as interim president in absence of a full-time and permanent president would have harmed the prospects of the Congress party. “No third interim president would have the authority to implement things; and the names doing the rounds as the interim President would have been a disaster.”
In an exclusive interview with India TV special correspondent Vijay Laxmi, Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke on the letter that became the talking point in the Congress working committee meeting and also the way forward for the G-23, the leaders who signed the letter and sent it to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Question: What made you to write a letter now, as questions are raised on the timing of the letter
Ans: This letter was written to strengthen the party keeping in view our inner party democracy. We knew very well that Mr. Rahul Gandhi resigned last year and that entire party including the signatories of the letter failed to make him continue as the party President; and Mrs. Gandhi was requested by the entire CWC to continue as the interim President of Congress Party, her term as the interim president was about to get over, in this background we wrote the letter and that’s why it came in the month of August. We thought Mrs. Gandhi might not like to continue further, in that case third person would come as interim president.
Any third person coming as interim president in absence of a full-time and permanent president would have harmed the prospects of the Congress party because no third interim president would have the authority to implement things; and the names doing the rounds as the interim President would have been a disaster. It is in this background we wrote to the Congress President that the new President should be fully active and should constitute parliamentary board and should elect working committee and should also have state, district and block presidents elected. We should have some programme to galvanize the party; if we have to fight out the present BJP government.
Question: There were allegations on you by your colleagues that you were colluding with BJP
Ans: I was hurt, these sort of questions were raised by some of my colleagues, that the letter would have helped BJP. Rahul Gandhi didn’t say so, some one else said it. I said any allegation levelled by any of my colleagues; if it proved to be correct, I would resign on behalf of everyone who had signed on that letter (I was speaking on behalf of everyone who signed on that letter) Naturally, I was hurt. For last 34-35 years I am in the CWC. I worked with five Congress presidents. We have discussed and raised number of issues but no partyman has ever said that these questions were raised under the influence of other political parties.
Question: You are saying you didn’t want a third interim president and that’s why you wrote to Congress President, there is lot of discussion these days about Congress having a non Gandhi president, do you think that’s a possibility?
Ans: We can’t say who should be and who should not be the president, it’s democracy you can’t have reservation for party President. Whosoever gets elected is the leader. He/She should have to be accepted by everyone. Any one can contest the election and nobody in past and nobody in future shall be stopped from doing so.
Question: What is the way forward for G-23 now, what will be your future course of action
Ans: The chapter is closed now, because finally there is no third person as interim president. Mrs. Gandhi has accepted the demand of CWC members to continue as the interim President. CWC decided election will be held within 6 months and any issue with regards to strengthening the organisation will be taken on party platform with the new full-time President whosoever is elected by the party.
Question: If chapter is closed than that means you are not going to take it any further
Ans: Mrs. Gandhi’s concluding remarks that ‘she has no grudges against any of her colleagues who have written the letter; and she is not against writing a letter but was unhappy about it being leaked. she also said that these are all things of past and we all are one family’. I think, the chapter now is closed and we have to work together and will have to strengthen the party and fight out the divisive forces together.
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