New Delhi, Aug 24 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday questioned the timing of the letter by a section of the party and attacked them for going public against the leadership, saying differences needed to be discussed in party platforms and not the media.
He also insinuated that the letter seeking leadership changes was written in cahoots with the BJP, as it came at a time when Sonia Gandhi was hospitalised and the party was fighting with the BJP in Rajasthan to save its government, sources said.
The charge invited sharp rebuttals from former minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the meeting. Azad said he would resign if any such link with the BJP is established, the sources said.
In his brief moving intervention at the CWC, Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have said why that timing was chosen to send the letter when Sonia Gandhi was in hospital and the party was fighting the BJP in Rajasthan, insinuating that such a letter at the time would help the BJP, the sources said.
Azad, who is one of the signatories of the letter, read out the contents, saying the leaders are not questioning Sonia Gandhi and only wanted organisational reform in the larger interest of the party.
Echoes of the fiery CWC meeting which is underway, were also heard outside with former minister Kapil Sibal, another signatory to the letter, publicly questioning Rahul's remarks insinuating a BJP link to the letter seeking sweeping changes to party organisation and elections to the CWC.
Sibal later withdrew his tweet hitting out at Rahul Gandhi and said the former party chief had informed him personally that he had never made the 'colluding with the BJP' remark.
As the CWC meeting was underway on Monday and it was reported that Rahul Gandhi had lashed out at the letter writers, Sibal tweeted, 'Rahul says 'we are colluding with BJP'. Succeeded in Rajasthan High Court defending the Congress Party. Defending party in Manipur to bring down BJP government'.
'Last 30 years have never made a statement in favour of BJP on any issue. Yet 'we are colluding with the BJP'!', he tweeted. Sibal said a little later that he was withdrawing the tweet, saying, 'Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet.' Tagging Sibal's earlier tweet, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also tweeted, saying Rahul Gandhi hasn't said a word of this nature nor alluded to it.
'Please don't be misled by false media discourse or misinformation being spread. But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather than fighting and hurting each other and the Congress,' Surjewala said.
Earlier addressing the CWC, Rahul Gandhi said Sonia Gandhi had accepted the party presidentship only after the committee last year urged her to take responsibility.
He took on the leaders who went public with their complaints saying, 'it is the CWC where we discuss our differences and put out our thoughts, not the media,'. PTI SKC DV DV