Distancing himself from the Jammu meet of G-23 leaders, senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Monday virtually expressed concern over internal differences in the party spilling out into the open, and backed Rahul Gandhi’s return as President of the outfit.
The former union minister was one of the group of 23 leaders who wrote to the interim President Sonia Gandhi in August last year urging her to ensure “full-time” and “visible” leadership. It has since come to be known as ”G-23”.
Referring to the rally on Saturday at Jammu by some of the ”G-23” leaders ostensibly to felicitate Ghulam Nabi Azad on his retirement from the Rajya Sabha — seen as a show of strength, Mr Moily said it has been misread as a ”dissident” meeting.
“It is not a dissident meeting. We (some of the ”G-23” leaders) are not part of it,” he told PTI.
In a public show of dissent, the leaders, including Mr Azad, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal gathered on one stage in Jammu on Saturday, saying the party is weakening and they have come together to strengthen it.
Mr Moily, who had also served as chief minister of Karnataka, said the purpose of the August letter was to improve the party, for effective reformation and organisational elections at all levels.
“It’s not against the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi. We are all with the leadership, we are with the Congress. We are not against them becoming President”, he said.
Mr Moily noted that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi promised to effect changes in the organisation and hold elections.
“I don’t think we regret”, he said when asked whether he regretted signing the August letter.
“We should not pursue (with our letter). That (G-23) is not meant to be a dissident organisation and will not be. Once the memorandum (the letter) is given, the purpose is over. It’s not (correct) every day… to rake up that issue”, Mr Moily said.
Rebuilding the party is an ongoing, day-to-day process, and not a one-time activity, he pointed out.
“To that extent, the purpose (of the August letter) is served”.
On the growing clamour in the party for the return of Rahul Gandhi as President, Mr Moily said: “We also want him to come back as Soniaji is not well”.
Rahul Gandhi was already active in the field, “going around the country, everywhere”, he said, adding the former may return to the top position through the election process.
On some Congress leaders stating that the party is weakening, Mr Moily said when the Congress starts winning, the BJP would look weak; it’s always so.
“The Congress has the potential and inherent power to bounce back (electorally)”, he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)