New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday witnessed some heated exchange of words among Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior leader Anand Sharma and several other dissenters over internal elections, party sources said.
According to a party source, Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P. Chidambaram raised the issue of the elections for the CWC post.
Following the issue of the elections, Gehlot ticked off the dissenters without naming them and said that a few party leaders keep on demanding for the organisational elections instead of discussing how to deal with the BJP.
The source also said that the Rajasthan Chief Minister has stated that party leaders are wasting time discussing irrelevant issues like party elections.
“We should leave the matters and decisions to the party’s president,” Gehlot said.
He also questioned the party leaders: “If they don’t believe the party leadership (Sonia Gandhi) or not?”.
Gehlot was backed by senior party leader Ambika Soni, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Tariq Anwar and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Hitting back at Gehlot, Sharma said that few members of the party keep on disrespecting the senior leaders.
Following the ugly verbal spat among the senior leaders, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi intervened to placate both the groups.
However, party leaders at a press conference maintained that there was no such verbal war in the CWC, which is the highest decision making body of the party.
After the CWC meet, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal said that the party will have an elected president by June this year at any cost.
“The CWC discussed the schedule of Congress president’s elections in May-end, proposed by its election authority. All CWC members unanimously requested Congress president that the internal elections should not interfere with the Assembly polls,” Venugopal said.
Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “don’t get misguided and don’t fall for rumours”.
“The leaders whose names have been taken are not dissenters — they are our respected leaders and they are our family members. And we all were unanimous that the party election schedule be postponed for a month,” Surjewala said at a press briefing after the meeting.
Responding to the question of senior leaders sparring over the organisational election issue, Venugopal said, “There was no big debate in the CWC. We will conduct party election as per its constitution. And the schedule will be out very soon.”
“Some change in schedule was required due to coming Assembly elections (in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Puducherry) and that was taken into consideration; the party will announce the election schedule accordingly,” he said.