After the heated exchange of words at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday over the alleged “colluding with BJP” remark, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad clarified that former party chief Rahul Gandhi didn’t say that the letter in question was written at the behest of the BJP, neither in the CWC meeting or outside.
In a series of tweets, Azad, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, “A section of media is wrongly attributing that in the CWC I told Rahul Gandhi to prove that the letter written by us is in collusion with BJP — let me make it very clear that Rahul Gandhi has neither in CWC or outside said that this letter was written at the behest of BJP.”
“What I said was, yesterday some Congress person had said that we did it at the behest of the BJP and in that context I said ‘it is most unfortunate that some colleagues (outside CWC) have accused us of collusion with BJP, and if those people can prove this allegation, I will resign’,” he said.
His remarks came after the CWC meeting on Monday witnessed volatile scenes with several senior leaders, including Azad, even offered to resign.
Azad’s remarks came after Rahul Gandhi targeted the party dissenters and questioned the timing of a letter which was sent to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking a change in leadership.
According to Congress sources, at the CWC, Rahul Gandhi said, “What was the reason to write a letter when Sonia Gandhi was admitted to the hospital and when the party was battling a political crisis in Rajasthan?”
Sonia Gandhi was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on July 30 for a routine check-up and was discharged on August 2.
The political crisis in Rajasthan began on July 11 when former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot rebelled against the party leadership. The crisis in Rajasthan was settled by the top leadership on August 11.
The “agents of BJP” charge was levelled by Haryana Congress leader Kumari Selja who targeted the dissenters for writing the letter seeking a leadership change. In her letter to Sonia Gandhi, she called the leaders who wrote the letter as “agents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.
A party source said that while responding to the contents of Selja’s letter during the CWC meeting, Azad said that he would quit the party if it was proved that he was colluding with the BJP.
According to party sources, Azad said: “If you can prove that I am colluding with the BJP, I will quit right now.”
Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal also withdrew his tweets on the issue, saying that he was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that the former party chief didn’t make the “colluding with BJP” remark attributed to him.
In his new tweet, Sibal said, “Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet.”
The CWC meeting came weeks after a stormy huddle of Congress Rajya Sabha MPs in which certain leaders sought introspection on the 2019 poll debacle.
After that, a bunch of leaders wrote the letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.