By Siddharth SharmaNew Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Days after a controversy erupted over comments of Rahul Gandhi comparing politics in North and South India, the party seems to be fishing in troubled waters.
While Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is headed towards the poll-bound Tamil Nadu on Saturday, the party's dissenters, also known as G-23 will be holding a show of strength in Jammu.
Even as former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to start his Tamil Nadu tour from the Toothukudi district, the senior leaders who have repeatedly shown their discontent with the party will be in Jammu attending a programme organised by Gandhi Global Family foundation on Saturday.
Sources stated that the foundation, whose National President is Gulam Nabi Azad, will be hosting senior leaders like Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Vivek Tankha, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who have been open about their displeasure with the party leadership over the past few weeks.
Ahead of their Jammu meet, the leaders also met at Azad's residence. Sources stated that the meeting was attended by Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda while other leaders were contacted on the phone.
According to sources close to G-23 leaders, the event will not be the only programme as rallies and programmes are also under planning in other states to highlight the issues and Congress Party view on those issues.
The group of senior leaders have been demanding a revamp in the party and had earlier written a letter to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, showing their dissent with the present system being followed by the party.
Gulam Nabi Azad, who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and the post of Leader of Opposition, will be on a three-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir.
Interestingly, the dissenters are seemingly opening a separate front as they have not invited the Pradesh Congress Committee chief so far to the Gandhi Global Family foundation programme.
Speaking to ANI, Jammu and Kashmir PCC chief Gulam Ahmed Mir confirmed that the PCC office bearers and PCC Chief have not been invited yet by the Gandhi Global Family.
Sources stated that the Congress leadership is closely monitoring the move of dissenters as till now nothing has been said and written by the senior leaders which can be counted as anti-party activity.
The move by senior leaders of the Congress is significant as leaders like Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal have raised uncomfortable questions regarding Rahul Gandhi's comments. Although most of these leaders didn't criticize Gandhi outrightly for his remarks on politics in North and South India. They, however, indirectly expressed their views and put forth the Congress ideology in their statement.
Anand Sharma had told ANI earlier, "Rahul Gandhi had made an observation, perhaps sharing his personal experiences and not disrespecting any part of India or dividing. In what context he made that observation, he can clarify that so that there's no conjecture or misunderstandings, Congress never divided the country. Each part of India is equally important. North India has also contributed a lot."Commenting on Rahul Gandhi's comments earlier, Sibal also said "I'm nobody to comment on what he said. He said it and he can explain in what context he said this. I can only say that elector in this country is wise, we must respect his wisdom, wherever he may be located. It's the elector that ultimately votes for youputs you in the saddle of power. We must respect electors in the country and we must not denigrate their wisdom."Rahul Gandhi had said in Kerala, "For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the north. I had got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was very refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues not just superficially but they like to go into detail about issues. I was talking to some students in the United States and I said to them I really enjoy going to Kerala. It's not just affection but the way you do your politics, the intelligence with which you do your politics. So, for me, it's been a learning experience and a pleasure."The BJP had latched onto the comments of Rahul Gandhi and cornered him by alleging that the statement reeked of a bias against North Indians.
Rahul Gandhi's is touring the poll-bound states like Assam, Tamil Nadu and Pudducherry. It will be interesting to see what the dissenters will say in Jammu on Saturday. However, the solidarity of senior leaders of G-23 with Gulam Nabi Azad is being seen as an indication that all is not well in the party. (ANI)