In Ghulam Nabi Azad’s five-page resignation notice to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, there are six references attacking the “coterie” that runs the Congress social gathering.
Terming Sonia Gandhi a “nominal figurehead” in one occasion, he goes on so as to add that “all the important decisions were being taken by Shri Rahul Gandhi, or rather worse, his security guards and PAs”.
The Congress’s response was to say that the letter, which additionally listed Azad’s lengthy affiliation with the half in numerous posts, exemplified how he had himself been a member of what he termed the ”coterie” in earlier years beneath Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
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At one other level in the letter, Azad blames Rahul Gandhi for demolishing the “consultative mechanism that existed earlier”. ”All senior and skilled leaders have been sidelined and (a) new coterie of inexperienced sycophants began operating the affairs of the social gathering,’’ he provides quickly after.
The reference to safety guards is seen as an assault on KB Byju, who was once in the Special Protection Group however joined Rahul Gandhi’s workforce when the latter grew to become normal secretary of the social gathering. Byju doesn’t have a proper designation in the Congress social gathering, however he has grown in stature from being in cost and managing Rahul Gandhi’s safety, to additionally dealing with key assignments such because the elections in Goa earlier this yr to now being the important thing man for Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Congress leaders mentioned that as a result of Byju is the particular person managing all of Rahul Gandhi’s travels, it places him in a place of energy as a result of he decides who spends time with the latter and even shares the stage with him. His significance will be gauged from the very fact that he was Rahul Gandhi’s private messenger to Captain Amarinder Singh forward of the turmoil that led to the eventual exit of the latter as Punjab CM.
HT reached out to Byju however didn’t obtain a response.
The most distinguished member of Team Rahul Gandhi is normal secretary in cost of organisation (GSO), KC Venugopal, who Azad doesn’t title or consult with immediately. Venugopal was elevated to normal secretary in cost of Karnataka in 2017, the identical yr that Rahul Gandhi grew to become president of the social gathering. And in 2019, he took over his present function. Before that, he was a junior minister in the UPA authorities . In his AICC function, Venugopal was seen as somebody who was inaccessible, ensuing in heartburn amongst veterans resembling Azad . Senior leaders, and even those that weren’t a part of the G-23 of Congress leaders that wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 in search of reform in how the social gathering was run, didn’t like the very fact that the Gandhis labored by way of him and that he managed full entry to 10, Janpath.
Venugopal mentioned coterie is the fallacious phrase to explain the workforce. He added that simply as Azad was near Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, as written in his letter, the workforce enjoys the “trust of the leadership.” Venugopal additionally took problem to Azad terming the organisational elections a farce earlier than they have been held, and mentioned that Azad was amongst those that derived most profit from being a part of the Congress. “The entire letter is designed to make BJP and Modi happy,” he added.
The different normal secretaries who’re a part of Gandhi’s workforce are Randeep Surjewala and Ajay Maken.
Azad’s angst , as evident in his point out of PAs, is additionally directed at members of Rahul Gandhi’s private workers. This contains Alankar Sawai, a former ICICI Bank govt who heads the analysis workforce, and for a while dealt with Rahul Gandhi’s twitter account ( Gandhi unfollowed many individuals, together with a number of of his workforce members throughout this time).
It additionally contains Oxford educated Kaushal Vidyarthee, who is Rahul Gandhi’s official secretary dealing with his every day engagements, and Sachin Rao, who was a part of the private workforce however now additionally handles coaching and the publication Sandesh. The feeling amongst social gathering veterans is that Gandhi depends way more on individuals with out a political background. That’s resulted in a disconnect with the social gathering and nation, a few of them declare.
“Congress has lost the will and the ability under the tutelage of the Coterie that runs the AICC to fight for what is right for India,” Azad wrote in his letter.
The largest downside that the group of 23, which Azad led, has with Rahul Gandhi’s workforce is that lots of them are actually in positions of energy, together with in the Congress Working Committee. “Nominated individuals are usually sure males who solely agree with the chief and that’s why we hold getting defeated in elections,’’ mentioned G23 member and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday. “The consultative choice making course of has stopped and that’s what must be mounted in the upcoming organisational elections.’’