Haven't done anything wrong, won't reply to notice: UP Cong rebels

Lucknow, Nov 22 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders who were served notices by the party stuck to their stand on Friday that they had not committed any “indiscipline”.

'We haven't done anything wrong or that which could amounts to indiscipline. We will not reply to it,' a leader said, as the 24-hour deadline to respond approached. Some said they are yet to receive the notice.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Ajay Kumar Lallu, however, indicated that the party took the matter seriously.

'Notices have been sent by the disciplinary committee of the party and the replies are awaited,” he told reporters. “We will see what has to be done if we do not get the replies after the expiry of the deadline.” The Congress on Thursday sent notices to 11 leaders in the state for “unnecessarily opposing' the party over the revamp of the UPCC in October, when Lallu replaced Raj Babbar.

Many senior leaders felt they were sidelined by the move.

'I have not committed any indiscipline. I know the rules that being a member of the AICC (All India Congress Committee), I cannot be served notice by the PCC,' senior leader Satyadev Tripathi said.

Siraj Mehdi, a former member of the state legislative council, claimed he had not yet got the notice and cannot speak on it merely on the basis of newspaper reports.

'Our move was aimed at strengthening the party and removing any shortcomings in the organisation. How can we be blamed for indiscipline?' another leader said.

He said the seniors are concerned over their role in the organisation after the new UPCC was announced in October, giving preference to youth over experience.

The notices had were issued by former legislator Ajay Rai, member of the disciplinary committee of the state unit on the directives of general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Ajay Kumar Lallu, the party had said.

'It has come to the notice of the disciplinary committee through newspapers that you have been continuously and unnecessarily opposing the AICC decisions concerning the UPCC publicly by holding meetings,” the notices said.

“Through these meetings and statements in the media, the image of the Congress party has been tarnished. This was not expected from senior leaders like you,” they added.

The veterans defended their participation in the meetings, including one on November 14.

They asked if paying tributes to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and discussing the withdrawal of Special Protection Group security to the Gandhi family amounted to indiscipline.

The disgruntled leaders had organised their separate programme that day instead of attending the one held at the UPCC headquarters.

Asked by reporters about the fate of an earlier show cause notice served to Rae Bareli MLA Aditi Singh, Lallu said he did not have the information yet.

In October, the Congress had issued a notice to Singh for defying a party whip and attending a 36-hour special session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Those served notices on Thursday include former MP Santosh Singh, former MLC Siraj Mehdi, former ministers Ram Krishna Dwivedi and Satyadev Tripathi, and AICC member Rajendra Singh Solanki.

Former MLAs Bhudhar Narayan Mishra, Hafiz Mohammed Umar, Vinod Chaudhari and Nek Chand Pande, former Youth Congress leader Swayam Prakash Goswami and Gorakhpur unit president Sanjiv Singh are also on the list.

On the PF scam in the UP power department, the UPCC president charged that the state government was involved and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was trying to hush up the matter.

He dared the state government to face a CBI inquiry in the case that involves illegal investment from a provident fund.

Lallu also expressed concern over the spread of dengue, alleging that over 100 people have died in Kanpur alone. PTI SAB ASH