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Inappropriate for leaders to make public comments after party chief call to move on: Congress


NEW DELHI: In a snub to dissenters, the Congress on Sunday said it is not appropriate for any leader to go public on internal matters of the party after president Sonia Gandhi had called for moving on collectively at the recent CWC meeting, which had discussed the leadership issue. The Congress’ remarks come as some of its leaders continue to make statements in public over internal party issues, after 23 leaders wrote to Gandhi calling for far-reaching reforms within the party such as having a “full time, active and visible” leadership.

They had also called for devolution of powers to state units and revamping the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the party, in line with the party constitution.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the party has to move forward collectively in the direction and manner suggested by the Congress President during the CWC meeting, in which internal party issues were discussed at length for seven hours.

He said he was not speaking about individuals, individual press conferences or about reports. “It is a free country. Nobody is censored to speak or not to speak,” Singhvi said.

“But, let me make one thing clear, we had a marathon discussion on diverse issues for seven hours and at the end of which, the Congress president clearly said that we discussed it openly like a family and we now should look to the future, and the momentum and the directions should be to the future. We have to move together forgetting the bygones,” he told reporters while speaking on the comments made by some leaders in public.

Once the Congress president has said so, “I think that letter and spirit must be observed in every way”, Singhvi said.

“I don’t think it is appropriate after that for me or anyone else to comment, be it to be in the centre of press, be it to be in the headlines or not,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, while justifying the letter to the Congress chief, said it was in the interest of the party to hold elections to the CWC (the party’s highest-decision making body) and bring changes as suggested, “otherwise the Congress will keep sitting in the opposition for the next 50 years”.

Another signatory to the letter, Kapil Sibal has said in interviews that the Congress needs a “de jure and a de facto president” and concerns raised in their letter to the party chief should be addressed as soon as possible.

Sibal has also alleged that politics in the country is now based primarily on loyalty, but what is needed is merit, inclusiveness and commitment to the cause.

He has said after their letter, the issue that was debated was loyalty and not its contents.

Sibal has said this happens when distances within the party increase and moves are views with suspicion.

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