New Delhi: Amid rumblings within the party after a disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is said to have accused three senior leaders of placing their respective sons above the party. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has alleged the entire top-brass left him (Rahul) alone to fight it out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party sources said.
Narrating inside details of the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, which was held Saturday to assess the party’s poll rout, party leaders said Rahul did a lot of ‘plain-speaking’ in his surgical analysis of the role of several party leaders while himself offering to quit as the party president. He also said he does not want any other member of the Gandhi family to succeed him, virtually ruling out Priyanka as well for the top party position.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the Congress winning just 52 Lok Sabha seats and drawing a nought in 18 states and Union Territories. Rahul himself lost from the family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, though he won from Wayanad in Kerala.
Stating that Priyanka lost her cool more than once during the four-hour long CWC deliberations, a party leader present there said the AICC general secretary in charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh said, “All those responsible for the party’s defeat are sitting in this room.”
When some party leaders were trying to convince Rahul Gandhi to take back his resignation, which he had offered taking moral responsibility for the Congress debacle, Priyanka is learnt to have intervened saying, “Where were you when my brother was fighting all by himself and alone?”
Priyanka sat through the meeting, looking visibly anguished, and interjected twice at least, while stating on one occasion, “No one supported Congress president in taking forward the narrative of Rafale and ‘chowkidar chor hai’.
Rahul, who left the meeting abruptly also ticked off three senior party leaders – former union minister P Chidambaram, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. He said they had placed their sons before party interests.
Chidambaram’s son Karti and Nath’s son Nakul managed to win the Lok Sabha elections from their respective seats, but Gehlot’s son Vaibhav lost.
CWC sources said that when former Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia urged Gandhi to strengthen the state leaderships of the party, Rahul quipped looking at Chidambaram, saying that ‘Mr Chidambaram threatened to resign if a ticket was denied to his son’. About Kamal Nath who was absent from the CWC meeting, Rahul stated, “Mr Nath said how could he be CM if his son was not fielded.”
Taunting Gehlot the Congress chief said the Rajasthan CM spent seven days campaigning for his son in Jodhpur neglecting the rest of the state.
Sources said Priyanka also urged her brother not to resign saying it would be like ‘falling into BJP’s trap’.