New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister of Karnataka, Veerappa Moily, has said he has “dissociated from the G23” and would no longer like to be considered a part of that group.
‘G23’ was a moniker given to 23 Congress leaders who signed a letter in August last year, addressed to interim president Sonia Gandhi, demanding a host of reforms within the party, including a full-time and effective leadership.
Speaking to ThePrint Tuesday, Moily said the intention with which he signed the letter along with the other 22 senior leaders is different from what is playing out today.
“I dissociate from the G23 and don’t want to have anything to do with any of their moves or decisions any longer,” Moily said.
“The letter’s intention was to ask for reform within the party, not for a leadership change. But lately, it seems like there have been calls for leadership change by certain members of the group, which I don’t endorse at all,” the former Union minister said. “We were never meant to attack the high command. The leadership is trying its best to fight the Modi government. To weaken their resolve is not right.”
Moily cited the farmers’ protests and how the Congress high command has stood by them as an example of the party’s leadership strength. “Our leaders are on the ground fighting alongside farmers,” he said.
His remark was in reference to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s detention in Sitapur Monday while on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of those mowed down by a convoy of cars which allegedly included Ashish Mishra, son of the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni.
Kapil Sibal, former Union minister and another prominent member of the G23, had last week given a call for a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to discuss the party’s continued turmoil in Punjab, election for the post of president, and the string of leaders’ exits.
Sibal had said he was speaking on behalf of the G23, which had demanded multiple changes in the party over a year ago.
However, Moily said he wasn’t party to that demand or consulted for it. “I have nothing to do with that demand, I am not party to it,” he said.
‘Never a formal group’
The ‘G23’ had already been reduced to a ‘G22’ with one of the signatories to the letter, Jitin Prasada, joining the BJP in June this year.
Speaking to ThePrint, Sandeep Dikshit, another signatory to the letter, said the group was never a “formal” one.
“It’s never been a formal group with regular meetings or discussions. Our basic point of agreement was what was written in that letter, demands pertaining to organisational revamp in the party,” Dikshit said.
He added everything done by individuals of the group since then has been done in an individual capacity.
“Sometimes, a leader here and there will make some statement and it will be attributed to the entire group. That’s not right. But yes, I still stand by the demands we brought up and agree that they haven’t been addressed till date,” he said.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)