Former Union minister Kapil Sibal on Monday withdrew his attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, which he made after Gandhi allegedly accused him and 22 other signatories of a letter that asked for reforms within the party, of colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Rahul Gandhi says we are colluding with BJP,” Sibal had tweeted even as a meeting of the Congress Working Committee was underway. “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 !”
However, soon after, Sibal said Gandhi had personally told him that he never said what was attributed to him. “Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him,” Sibal tweeted. “I therefore withdraw my tweet.” Sibal has deleted his earlier tweet.
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was clear that Gandhi had not made any remarks of the sort attributed to him. “Sh Rahul Gandhi hasn’t said a word of this nature nor alluded to it,” Surjewala tweeted, replying to Sibal’s earlier tweet. “Pl[ease] don’t be mislead by false media discourse or misinformation being spread. But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather then fighting & hurting each other & the Congress.”
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad reportedly offered to resign as he defended the letter.
Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter, according to NDTV. The former Congress president said the letter was sent to the party chief at a time when she had not been keeping well. He said the letter came at a time when the “party is fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan”.
The Congress is in the middle of an internal crisis, which was triggered after at least 23 party leaders wrote to Sonia Gandhi demanding a complete overhaul of the organisation.
The letter, which was written on August 15, urged Gandhi to address the leadership question in the party and claimed the uncertainty around it “has demoralised party workers and weakened the institution”. The signatories of the letter included former chief ministers such as Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan, former ministers Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, and Milind Deora and Jitin Prasada.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi asked the Congress Working Committee to relieve her as the interim chief of the party. She asked the party members to begin a process of transition to relieve her by electing a new president. Her letter seeking to step down was read out before the party members by KC Venugopal.
“A year has lapsed now,” Gandhi said, according to Hindustan Times. “In the interest of the party, I ask CWC to begin deliberations to put in a place of process of transition to relieve me from my duties.”
Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a letter, urged Sonia Gandhi to convince Rahul Gandhi to become party president if her health does not permit her to fully dedicate herself to the post, PTI reported. He also asked Sonia Gandhi to continue as the president of the All India Congress Committee.