In an unprecedented move in the history of Indian National Congress, 23 senior leaders of the party, including five former chief ministers, sitting MPs Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tiwari, members of Congress Working Committee and over a dozen former union ministers, have written a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, asking her to make “sweeping changes” in the party and stop its “steady decline”.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the letter points at the rise of the BJP and admits that people unfalteringly voted for Narendra Modi. T then expresses worry over the mammoth erosion of the support base of the Congress and calls for an urgent need for “full time and effective leadership”, decentralisation of power, elections within the Congress at all levels and empowerment of state units.
While the leaders have refrained from naming Rahul Gandhi directly in the letter, they insist that the introduction of elections in Youth Congress and NSUI has lead to “conflict and division”.
The signatories to the letter include party MPs and former Union Ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, MP Vivek Tankha, AICC and CWC members Jitin Prasada and Mukul Wasnik, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief ministers and union ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, M Veerappa Moily, Rajender Kaur Bhattal, Prithviraj Chavan, P J Kurian, Renuka Chaudhary, and Milind Deora; former PCC chiefs Raj Babbar (UP), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Delhi) and Kaul Singh Thakur (Himachal); current Bihar campaign chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh, former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma; former Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri and former MP Sandeep Dixit.
The Indian Express quoted sources as saying that a “major organisational reshuffle” is being planned as a response to the letter and the same is expected to be announced on Monday when the Congress Working Committee (CWC) assembles for an online meeting.
The demand for a change in the political leadership and transparent elections in the party comes at a time when the Congress is still recovering from the month-long rebellion of Sachin Pilot. The voices of dissent continue to grow strong even after Sanjay Jha was sacked as party spokesperson after he publicly criticised it in the turmoil over Pilot's revolt.