New Delhi, Aug 25 (PTI) A day after a stormy Congress Working Committee meeting, some members belonging to the 'group of 23' who wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational overhaul on Tuesday said they were 'not dissenters' but 'proponents of revival' of the party.
The letter was not a challenge to leadership but a parchment of action to strengthen the party, Congress MP Vivek Tankha asserted, while former union minister Mukul Wasnik said those who saw the letter as an “offence” will also soon realise that the issues raised are worth consideration.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal posted a cryptic tweet, saying: 'It's not about a post. It's about my country which matters most.' Tankha took to Twitter to address the controversy surrounding their letter which led to high drama at the CWC meet where many leaders, including former party chief Rahul Gandhi, lashed out at the letter writers.
'Friends we are not dissenters but proponents of revival :: the letter was not a challenge to leadership but a parchment of action to strengthen the party :: universally truth is best defence whether it be Court or Public Affairs :: history acknowledges the brave & not the timid (sic),' he said in a tweet.
Replying to Tankha, Wasnik tweeted, 'Well said. Sooner than later those who saw the letter as an offence will also realise that the issues raised are worth consideration.' Another Congress leader, belonging to the group which wrote the letter, said they were satisfied with the outcome of the CWC meet.
Some leaders who signed the letter were present at the CWC meeting and agreed to the proposals, said the leader, who wished not to be named.
'We have never expressed any doubts on the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and whatever decisions Sonia ji will take, will be acceptable to us,' the leader said.
'We are working to strengthen the party, not working against anyone,' the leader said.
Many members from the 'group of 23' when contacted refused to comment on the matter.
After the seven-hour meeting of the party's top decision-making body, the CWC made it clear that no one will be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership.
The CWC also resolved that inner-party issues cannot be deliberated through the media or in public fora and all such issues must be raised within the party 'in the interest of propriety and discipline'.
Some senior Congress leaders, including Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, had met at their senior colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad's house here on Monday evening after the CWC debated their letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking urgent organisational reforms.
The meeting was also attended by Wasnik and Manish Tewari, along with some other signatories to the letter, sources said.
The leaders discussed the resolution passed at the CWC meeting.
Having a 'full time, active and visible' leadership, devolution of powers to state units and revamping the CWC in line with the party constitution are some of the far-reaching suggestions made by 23 senior Congress leaders in the letter to Sonia Gandhi to revive the organisation.
Sibal, who is not a part of the CWC, had hit out at Rahul Gandhi on Twitter on Monday for a purported remark slamming the letter writers. He withdrew his tweet a little later after being 'informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him'.
The Congress also officially denied that Rahul Gandhi had accused any party leader of 'colluding with the BJP'.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi, it is learnt, launched a sharp attack against the signatories of the letter, questioning their timing as well as the fact they went public with their grievances.
The CWC urged Sonia Gandhi to continue as its interim chief till an AICC session can be convened and authorised her to effect necessary organisational changes to deal with the challenges facing the party.
The signatories to the letter include Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad; former Union ministers Sibal, Tharoor, Tewari, Anand Sharma, P J Kurian, Renuka Chaudhary, Milind Deora, and Ajay Singh.
Also among them are Tankha, Wasnik and Jitin Prasada; former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajender Kaur Bhattal, M Veerappa Moily and Prithviraj Chavan.
Former PCC chiefs Raj Babbar (UP), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Delhi) and Kaul Singh Thakur (Himachal); current Bihar campaign chief Akhilesh Singh, former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma; former Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri and former MP Sandeep Dixit are also among the signatories to the letter. PTI ASK RT