Congressional dissidents meet to define future course of action
After a brief hiatus, some congressional leaders belonging to the group of 23 dissidents held a meeting in the past two days to chart their future course of action, people familiar with the development said Wednesday.
A congressional official said the meeting took place at the residence of a senior leader who is not part of the group and who may be playing the role of problem solver after the death of Ahmed Patel.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath visited Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi at her 10th Janpath residence on Tuesday, the day after his return from Goa.
While the official said there is a possibility that the dissidents have gathered at Nath’s residence, there was no confirmation on that meeting.
Repeated calls to many group leaders went unanswered.
The leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of the group of 23 letter writers who had previously demanded internal elections and an organizational review, is said to have attended the meeting. He also did not respond to phone calls.
Shortly after the Bihar results were published, Azad claimed that the “five-star culture” had taken hold of his party and that its structure had collapsed.
He added that the party should rebuild itself by electing bloc leaders at the level of the Congressional Working Committee (CWC). Azad also claimed that there is a great disconnect between the people and the leaders of Congress and that the “five-star culture” has taken over the party.
In Bihar, the Congress proved to be the weakest link in the ‘mahagathbandhan’ opposition, winning only 19 of the 70 seats it contested. While the Rashtriya Janata Dl (RJD) won 75 seats and emerged as the largest party in the assembly of 243, the leftist parties won 16 of the 29 that fought as part of the so-called grand alliance.
The group of 23 signatories, also known as G-23, had written to the President of Congress in August this year, seeking active, full-time leadership and insight behind the 135-year-old party’s “steady decline”, while outlined an 11-point Action Plan.
In addition to Azad, those who signed the letter were Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Jitin Prasada, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and Prithiviraj Chavan.