The members of the G-23 group, who wrote the letter of dissent to Sonia Gandhi seeking sweeping reforms in the Congress party, are fighting for survival as team Rahul is taking key party decisions and have full say in the appointments and nominations.
The G-23 has now reduced to a few in numbers but the still evident force are Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Manish Tewari who have been at the forefront and have advocated reforms within the party.
However, many leaders who had signed the explosive letter, have been adjusted within the party or have brought down their opposition and one of the signatory Veerappa Moily had openly said that “there is no G-23”, while one of the signatories Jitin Prasada has left Congress to join the BJP.
But on the party foundation day on Tuesday, the presence of Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda at party headquarters are giving mixed signals as the members of this group have been comfortable with Sonia Gandhi but have concerns on the working style of Rahul Gandhi.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, while addressing a meeting recently, had categorically denied of leaving the party, saying, “I am 24 carat Congressman”. The former Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister is addressing rallies in his home state while his supporters have resigned from the party to push him as CM candidate in the state.
Some of the G-23 leaders feel and privately admit that it’s the end of the road for them in the party till Rahul Gandhi is at the helm, but some say they will be in the party and not as a tenant as they have given their prime years to the party.
However, the party is working hard to keep up a good strike rate in upcoming elections but Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday while addressing the party workers said, “Though there have been electoral losses, the party will keep up the fight,”, adding that electoral ups and downs are inevitable but what is enduring and lasting is her party’s commitment to the service of all people of the diverse society.
The party has tried to reach out to dissenters and roped in Kamal Nath and for some time Priyanka Gandhi stepped in to resolve the crisis, but the issue has not been resolved yet.
The G-23 wants consultations and prior discussions on the appointment of key posts before any decisions are taken. Though the party is holding elections for the President’s post in 2022, the group is unlikely to challenge Rahul Gandhi, but if he pushes a proxy, then the contest is inevitable.
While the G-23 doesn’t have enough numbers to push for a change in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the party, to remove or appoint a new President, as a two-third majority is required for this.
“The CWC shall consist of the President of the Congress, Leader of the Congress Party in Parliament, and 23 other members of whom 12 will be elected by the AICC, as per rules prescribed by the Working Committee and the rest shall be appointed by the President. The quorum for a meeting of the Working Committee shall be eight,” says the party constitution.