NEW DELHI: Tehseen Poonawalla, brother of Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla who called out the party’s president election 'rigged', has refused to be associated with his brother, citing he should have voiced his grievances at the party forum instead of taking it to Twitter or the media.
“He never discussed with me, my wife or my mother about what he was up to. Any grievances Shehzad had in the party can be brought up in the inter-party forum. There is no need to go to the media and bring out these things,” Tehseen Poonawalla told ANI.
He added, “I formally and firmly declare in front of the media – my wife, my mother and I have nothing to do with Shehzad Poonawalla; we refuse to be associated with him. Such a huge party and not one person is raising a voice shows that Shehzad might have been misguided on what he's saying,"
Earlier yesterday, Shehzad Poonawalla, claiming that the poll process to elect the Congress president was stacked in Rahul's favour just because he belongs to the Gandhi family, took to Twitter and said, "Raising an issue nobody in my party - the Congress will have guts to raise- my conscience will not allow me to stay quiet anymore on Dynasty/ sycophancy."
An office-bearer of the Maharashtra Congress, Poonawalla had earlier told the media he would want to contest the election if it was conducted in a genuine manner. Adding to this, he told ANI, "I think there should be only one ticket in one family, be it Shehzad Poonawalla or Rahul Gandhi."
No trouble ... @Shehzad_Ind should focus on winning Gujarat . Not create new stories . Unacceptable to my wife n me. I live @INCIndia ..Every breath of mine is to defeat BJP . Hurt and how https://t.co/tH9mj6rlzX— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) November 29, 2017
Reacting to his brother’s statement, Tehseen said he was “stunned” on hearing him last night on TV and seeing his tweets, and added that the statement was particularly harmful to the party against the backdrop of Gujarat polls.
“The only leading party that can take on the BJP is Congress and its allies, and we need to strengthen the Congress, and for that we need to strengthen Rahul Gandhi,” he added.
I officially end all relationship with @Shehzad_Ind . I have never been this hurt. We needed to defeat the BJP. This is unacceptable . Im very very hurt today . Been stabbed in the back ..And how— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) November 29, 2017
In a series of tweets, Tehseen also announced to end his relationship with Shehzad "officially." Tehseen is married to Rahul's brother-in-law Robert Vadra's sister Monicka . However, he is not a member of the Congress.
Shehzad Poonawalla charged the entire exercise was orchestrated. He described the party as family-run business and challenged Rahul to come for a televised debate on what the Congress should aim for in the future.
In his letter to Rahul, Shehzad wrote that he joined the party in 2008 and worked hard to move up, becoming secretary in the Maharashtra unit last year. Shehzad alleged that Rahul got his promotions due to his surname.
“The upcoming Congress president election is a selection and not an election. Its a sham election process. I think there should be only one ticket in one family, be it Shehzad Poonawalla or Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan dismissed Shehzad as a non-entity and said he was not even a party delegate this year to merit attention.
However, Shehzad tweeted 'proof' of him being a member of the Congress, claiming that some members had denied that he was a member of the party post his letter to Rahul Gandhi.
Some in my party have denied that I am a Congress member - Giving hard proof at 5 PM On @IndiaToday with @ShivAroor - My appt letter by Ashok Chavan in 2016, Press release by @INCIndia dated 2016 & other documents - Also @OfficeOfRG needs to answer my q10s - is he against dynasty pic.twitter.com/yL7Ax9O5wt— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) November 30, 2017
“One who has no connect with the party lately, is stating things which completely lack truth. He is using Rahulji's name purely for publicity,” said Chavan.
Questioning the timing of Shehzad’s outburst, party sources said it he could have played into the hands of the BJP which is out to discredit him ahead of the Gujarat elections.