On the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a teary-eyed farewell to Congress senior leader and veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha, a few among the INC's 'group of 23' dissenters met Azad for a cup of tea in the evening.
Among those who met Azad were former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress Loksabha MPs Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor, former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha. Sources said it was just a courtesy meeting due to the leader's farewell.
While a stream of other leaders also came to meet Azad, the dissenters meeting him, even if out of courtesy, holds a symbolic importance at the time when a division within the Congress is visible.
When asked about Modi's praise of Azad in the Rajya Sabha, a Congress MP said the PM's motive "might be to increase the discord within the Congress party".
In August last year, 23 senior leaders of the Indian National Congress wrote a letter to chief Sonia Gandhi, asking her for “sweeping changes” in the party.
The group includes five former chief ministers, sitting MPs Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, members of Congress Working Committee and over a dozen former union ministers with years of political experience.