‘Disgruntled’ leaders behind ‘palace coup’, say Congress insiders

Those who are said to be the signatories in the letter seeking change have also declined to talk on the issue, terming it an “internal party matter “.
Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi Congress Prez

New Delhi, Aug 24 : Amid reports of interim chief Sonia Gandhi offering to quit in the wake of a letter by a group of leaders demanding a change in the Congress leadership and reforms in the party, the “palace coup” has intrigued workers and leaders alike and all eyes are on the Monday meeting of the Congress Working Committee.

Top sources, however, indicated that a “bunch of disgruntled leaders” who are concerned over their personal political prospects, are behind the move and at the centre are members of the Rajya Sabha, where the party numbers have fallen and there is less chance of sitting members getting renominated after the veterans were left out in recent elections.

Some of them are upset with Mallikarjun Kharge being brought to the upper house and he may replace Ghulam Nabi Azad as Leader of the Opposition as the term of Azad is expiring early next year, said a party insider. Anand Sharma, who could have stepped into Azad’s shoes, is also miffed as in his home state, Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has fewer numbers and he faces stiff resistance from former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the insider said.

In the recent Rajya Sabha elections, the Rahul Gandhi camp managed to get K.C. Venugopal, Kharge, Rajeev Satav and Neeraj Dangi elected and other claimants were left out.

A Congress leader, who did not want to be named, said it can also be seen as a fight between those who got favours and those who are left out.

Party veterans and those who have been with Rahul Gandhi and now are feeling sidelined are said to be key to the Congress coup which has been brewing since the Rajya Sabha elections.

The party has officially denied comment on the barbs from both sides, and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “We will have to wait for the outcome of the Working Committee meeting.

Those who are said to be the signatories in the letter seeking change have also declined to talk on the issue, terming it an “internal party matter “.

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