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Can’t stop workers from expressing feelings, U.P. Cong. president

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

“Who can stop party workers from expressing their feelings,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu on Thursday after a district unit passed a resolution calling for the expulsion of senior leader Jitin Prasada for seeking reforms in the party.

Mr. Lallu, considered close to party general secretary Priyanka Vadra, stayed away from directly endorsing or rejecting the resolution passed by the Lakhimpur Kheri unit on August 26.

It passed the resolution against the 23 senior Congress leaders who had recently penned a letter questioning the party’s style of functioning and suggested sweeping reforms.

Mr. Prasada, a former Union Minister, was among them.

Call for disciplinary action

The resolution addressed to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi called for strict disciplinary action against the signatories to the letter and even their expulsion for raising doubts about her performance.

“They are doing exactly what the BJP government is doing,” the resolution said. Writing a letter at a time when the country was facing COVID-19 and the BJP was targeting the Congress government in Rajasthan showed that these leaders “have no faith” in the Congress or Ms. Gandhi, it said.

One leader specifically targeted was Mr. Prasada with the argument that he was the only one from U.P.

The resolution says Mr. Prasada’s family history was of opposing the Gandhi family and mentions that his father Jitendra Prasada had even contested against Ms. Gandhi for the party top post.

Despite this, the resolution said, Mr. Prasada was handed a Lok Sabha ticket and even made a Minister.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, one of the signatories, jumped to Mr. Prasada’s support. “Unfortunate that Jitin Prasada is being officially targeted in U.P.,” Mr. Sibal tweeted. “The Congress needs to target the BJP with surgical strikes instead wasting its energy by targeting its own.”

Mr. Prasada re-tweeted the tweet, which was also re-tweeted by another signatory, MP Manish Tewari. ‘Prescient,’ Mr. Tewari commented as he shared Mr. Sibal’s remarks.

Evades a direct reply

When contacted, Mr. Lallu evaded a direct reply whether he supported the resolution or not.

“The party workers have expressed their feelings. Who can stop them from doing so,” he asked.

Mr. Lallu stressed that the resolution was addressed to Ms. Gandhi and not to him. “Our party is a democratic one. Even an ordinary worker can write to the national president and express his or her feelings,” he told The Hindu.

“How can I stop the feelings of the party workers?”

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 10:15:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cant-stop-workers-from-expressing-feelings-up-cong-president/article32457581.ece

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