The G-23 have flagged manner of Capt. Amarinder’s removal amid leadership crisis
The political turmoil in Punjab Congress and the manner in which Captain Amarinder Singh was removed as the chief minister is likely to sharpen the fault lines between the Gandhi family loyalists and the group of 23 (G-23) senior leaders who sought seeking internal reforms.
Amid signs of assertion by the Congress high command — especially former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra — two cryptic tweets from Lok Sabha member from Punjab Manish Tewari and Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal point to a divide over the Punjab developments.
“Changing Guard… Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab. Age old saying : A stitch in time saves nine Will it?” tweeted Mr. Sibal on September 19.
While his tweet can be read as questioning the timing of the Punjab decision, another interpretation is the reiteration of G-23’s demand for a “full time”, elected party president instead of the current arrangement of Sonia Gandhi as the party’s interim president.
Known for his proximity to Capt. Amarinder, Mr. Tewari didn’t refer to Punjab but posted a 32-year-old picture of Rajiv Gandhi, addressing a National Students Union of India convention in April 1989, to make a political point.
“This was the Congress!” tweeted Mr. Tewari. Later, in another tweet, he added that “there is dignity in Ekla Chalo Re”.
Earlier, on September 18, Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor, who is also a G-23 member, spoke of the need for a “permanent president” for the Congress party.
“We all want Congress to have a permanent president. No one will speak against Sonia Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi is a leader who has led us so well. But even she has been saying for years that she has a desire to step down,” Mr Tharoor told reporters in Kerala.
“We saw a new leadership emerge under Rahul Gandhi when Sonia Gandhi had stepped down. But if he is willing to come back into the party’s leadership role, that needs to happen fast,” he added.
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