It’s no secret that the Congress is falling apart like a pack of cards. Several desertions of veterans close to the Gandhis have put the top brass in a tough spot as it tries to keep its house in order, especially during election season.
Among the many challenges for the Grand Old Party now is Congress MP and veteran leader Manish Tewari, who has been unabashed in his criticism of the party’s functioning.
On Thursday, Tewari’s cryptic tweet quoting famous poet Bashir Badr once again highlighted the leader’s love-hate relationship with the party. “Mei bolta hun to ilzam hai bagawat ka, mei chup rahun toh badi bebasi si hoti hai (If I speak, the charge is of rebellion, if I keep quiet then it leads to helplessness)”.
मैं बोलता हूं तो इल्म है बगावत का,
मैं चुप रहूं तो बेवसी सी होती है।
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) February 16, 2022
A day before, speaking about senior leader Ashwani Kumar’s resignation after spending 46 years in the party, Tewari said there may be some truth in what he wrote in his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the same concerns have been raised by the G-23 in 2020.
“He is a good person, a very good lawyer who has excellent arguments. Something may be true in what he has said in his resignation letter. These concerns were brought to the notice of the party high command by the G23 group in 2020. But his eye is on a Rajya Sabha seat,” news agency PTI quoted Tewari as saying.
The senior leader had also taken exception to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s remarks during a poll campaign on Tuesday where she said that merely wearing a turban on stage doesn’t make anyone ‘Sardar’ (Sikh), in an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Responding to her comment, Tewari said, “Turban is the pride of Punjab and there should be no politics over wearing it.”
Tewari, one of the prominent members of the ‘G-23’ group who had in August 2020 written to Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational overhaul, has been openly criticising his party over the internal fissures in the party’s Punjab unit.
The Congress recently dropped Tewari from the list of star campaigners for the February 20 Assembly polls in Punjab.
In a tweet slamming his party, he said: “I would have been pleasantly surprised if it would have been the other way around. The reasons are also no state secret.”
Earlier, he had hit out at his party’s Punjab unit over the internal bickering and said he never saw “such chaos and anarchy”. Tewari had tweeted, “In my 40 years plus in the Congress, I have never seen such chaos and anarchy as what is playing out in Punjab Congress today.”
He had also lashed out at Punjab government over the non-implementation of the Centre’s move of extending the BSF’s jurisdiction.
Amid rumours that he was planning to jump ship, given his blow hot, blow cold relationship with the Congress, Tewari had said at an event that he would “cross the bridge when I reach there”. “Congress will be at a loss even if a small party worker leaves the Congress. The loss will be colossal if senior leaders leave the party,” he had said.
He was also quoted as saying by news agency ANI that he will not leave the Congress party “but if someone wants to push me out (dhakke mar kar bahar nikalega) of the party that’s a different thing”.