Dissent within the Congress Party has been growing for almost a year. The dissent escalated after 23 senior Congress leaders wrote a letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi seeking urgent organisational reforms.
The letter was also a point of discussion during the Congress Working Committee meeting. According to a report by Hindustan Times, the idea of writing such a letter germinated during a dinner hosted by Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor around five months ago.
As per the report, many who were a part of the dinner meeting have not signed the letter, which was sent on August 7. Prominent leaders who attended the dinner were P Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram, Sachin Pilot, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mani Shankar Aiyar.
While Chidambaram and Pilot refrained from commenting on it, Abhishek Manu Singhvi confirmed his presence at the dinner. Singhvi told the leading daily that an informal discussion on the constructive issue of reforms within the party was held. But added that he was not informed about the formulation of the letter.
Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar told the daily that he did not sign the letter as no one asked him to sign it. While talking about the dinner he said that a general discussion to revive the party and the need to go back to our secular credentials was discussed.
Some senior Congress leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, met at their senior colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad's house on Monday evening after the Congress Working Committee discussed their letter with Sonia Gandhi.
The signatories to the letter include Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Azad; former Union ministers Sibal, Tharoor, Tewari, Anand Sharma, P J Kurian, Renuka Chaudhary, Milind Deora and Ajay Singh. Also among them are MP Vivek Tankha; CWC members Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada; former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajender Kaur Bhattal, M Veerappa Moily and Prithviraj Chavan. Former PCC chiefs Raj Babbar (UP), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Delhi) and Kaul Singh Thakur (Himachal); current Bihar campaign chief Akhilesh Singh, former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma; former Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri and former MP Sandeep Dixit are also among the signatories to the letter.
CWC, after a seven-hour long meeting, unanimously resolved to strengthen the hands of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in every possible way, but also made it clear that no one will be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership. The CWC also said that inner-party issues cannot be deliberated through the media or in public domain and all such issues must be raised within the party "in the interest of propriety and discipline".