NEW DELHI: Former minister and Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari, one of G-23 leaders to write to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi calling for a full-time and effective leadership, said all the signatories stood by the demand for an elected CWC and institution of a parliamentary board to run the organisation besides other issues.
He said introspection into the defeat in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections should be undertaken, underlining that strategy to secure a majority in future polls should be the focus area. The comments indicate that the G-23 has not fallen inactive and it is significant that Tewari’s remarks come at a time when Congress member Rahul Gandhi is trying to build a protest over farm laws. Tewari was present at the protest in Patiala.
In an interview, Tewari said the “benign” letter was designed to “flag structural reforms in the party”. He said the preliminary party response to the dissenting missive was satisfactory. The letter, which demanded “clear and visible leadership” at the AICC, triggered a controversy as it was signed by senior members, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Veerappa Moily and Mukul Wasnik, who have served as ministers in UPA and other Congress governments. Following a discussion on the letter in the CWC, Congress last month announced that polls will be held to the post of party president in next six months and later named a central election authority to chart the course for internal polls.
However, Tewari said some of the other ideological issues which were raised in the letter needed to be addressed. The need for “introspection” seen as short hand as dissatisfaction with Rahul Gandhi and his style of leadership, has been a key issue for the G-23 and several other members who feel out of sync with him.
The Punjab MP said it was hoped that elections to CWC will also be held along with the election of party president. He said the future party chief should set up a “central parliamentary board” to discuss policy and strategy issues and give direction to Congress. “After the 2014 defeat, a committee under AK Antony was appointed and he gave a report. When Congress lost in 2019, it was flagged in the parliamentary party meeting that we require an introspection on why the polls did not play out as we expected,” he said. “A rigorous introspection of what went wrong in the two elections is required,” Tewari said.
Standing by the letter, he said Congress members across the country were concerned and many of them had privately associated themselves with the sentiment expressed in the missive. In the interview, he accepted that a “template letter” was signed by many Congress MPs and sent to the leadership.