LUCKNOW: The UP unit of the Congress party is witnessing a rebellion of sorts as senior party leaders are not only unhappy over being allegedly ignored in the reconstituted UP Congress Committee (UPCC) but are also airing their dissent openly.
A week after they had convened a separate ‘get-together’ to celebrate the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru here on November 14, the disciplinary cell of the UPCC served notices on 11 senior leaders for ‘indulging in anti-party activities.’
They have been asked to explain why disciplinary action should not be initiated against them.
Apart from holding the get-together to celebrate Nehru’s birthday, many of those given the notices had assembled separately to celebrate the birth anniversary of former PM Indira Gandhi on November 19. They had even boycotted party meetings convened to know their side of the story in a bid to placate them.
They had recently met at ex-MP and AICC member Santosh Singh’s residence to discuss how leaders, especially those above 60 years, were being sidelined, whereas those who had recently joined the party were being given key roles in the party organisation.
They had even decided to seek time from Congress president Sonia Gandhi to express their concerns over the changes made in the state unit organisation.
Notably, the UPCC was revamped last month with young leaders in the age group of 40-45 years being given important roles. The central party leadership had also chosen a rather young and grassroots leader Ajay Kumar Lallu, an MLA from Kushinagar, as the state unit chief.
However, since then, senior leaders, most of whom were made members of the advisory committee to AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, had been complaining of being completely ignored in the new team. Many of them even refused to don the advisory role accorded to them. However, the show-cause notices to the party’s old guard have given a new twist to their fight.
“The Uttar Pradesh Congress disciplinary committee has come to know through newspapers that you have been consistently and unnecessarily opposing the decisions of All India Congress Committee (AICC) about Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee by holding meetings publicly. It was not expected from senior leaders like you. Your conduct is against the policies and ideals of the party. Your acts come under the purview of indiscipline. You are asked to clarify in 24 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against you for your conduct,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress disciplinary committee member Ajay Rai.
Those given the notice include former MP Santosh Singh, former MLC Siraj Mehandi, former ministers Ramkrishna Dwivedi and Satyadev Tripathi, AICC member Rajendra Singh Solanki, former MLAs Bhudhar Narain Mishra, Hafiz Mohammad Omar, Vinod Chaudhary and Nek Chandra Pandey, former UP Youth Congress president Swayam Prakash Goswami and former Gorakhpur District Congress Committee president Sanjiv Singh.
On the contrary, those who have been served the notices denied receiving it. “We have yet to receive any notice. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is our leader. We have requested her for an appointment to make our point clear. We did not indulge in any anti-party activities. Rather, we are working to strengthen the party in UP,” said a leader seeking anonymity.
Some others raised questions over the disciplinary committee’s jurisdiction for issuing notices to leaders who are AICC members.
“The disciplinary committee has no authority to give notices to All India Congress Committee members,” said a leader.