Sorry if we hurt Sonia Gandhi’s feelings,’ says Congress leader M Veerappa Moily

Bengaluru: “If we have hurt her (Sonia Gandhi’s) feelings, we are sorry for it,” M Veerappa Moily, one of the 23 senior Congress leaders who sought urgent organisational reforms, said on Tuesday, asserting they never questioned her leadership.

At the same time, the former union minister defended being a signatory to the letter addressed to the interim Congress president, as he stressed the need for rejuvenating and restructuring the party.

Moily also disapproved of the media leak of the letter and called for an internal party enquiry to find out those behind it and wanted them to be punished.

The former Karnataka chief minister asserted that none of 23 leaders have any intention to leave the Congress.

“We have never questioned the leadership of Soniaji,” Moily told PTI in an interview, a day after the Congress Working Committee in a meeting prompted by the letter unanimously resolved to strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in every possible way.

The partys top decision-making body also made it clear no one will be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership.

“Soniaji is like a mother to the party. We revere her even now. There is no question of any intention to hurt her feelings. If we have hurt her feelings, we are sorry for it,” Moily said.

In her concluding remarks at the CWC meeting, Sonia had agreed to continue but said this arrangement cannot remain “open ended”, as the new party chief has to be selected soon.

She had also said that she does not hold anything or any kind of “ill-will” against any of her colleagues irrespective of how hurtful were the remarks made by them.

Noting that the party is passing through difficult times, Moily said “We can’t afford to lose the Congress party which we have nurtured by our perspiration, dedication and sacrifice.”

“We do recognise the sacrifice made by Soniaji, she was reluctant (earlier to take up the post), but she gave life to Congress party. Nobody can be ungrateful to Soniaji. And we still treat her as our own mother and guide the destiny of the party and also destiny of the nation,” he said.

“That respect will continue to be there. But at the same time, the party needs to be rejuvenated. Our main theme of the letter itself is rejuvenation of the Congress at all levels.

That does not mean she should not be President. Her becoming interim President again is welcome. We all love her.”

He said wholehearted efforts should be made to rejuvenate the party, adding, the organisation will have to be properly restructured.

Moily claimed some mischievous elements leaked the letter written by the leaders.

“I dont know from which end it was released. That was not correct. We dont approve of that, none of us approve of it,” he said adding none of the signatories leaked it.

Moily said the leak had occurred “somewhere after it is given to…I dont want to go into that. I think a proper inner party enquiry will have to be done and those who have leaked it will have to be punished, he added.

On some senior Congress leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, meeting at their senior colleague Ghulam Nabi Azads house in Delhi on Monday evening after the CWC meeting, Moily said he did not know about it as he was not in the national capital.

He added: “There is no question of any one of us thinking to condemn the party or be away from the party. No question.

Question of joining hands with the BJP does not arise at all.

We hate BJP, we continue to hate BJP and policies of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi.”

Without naming anyone, Moily attacked ‘betrayers’ of the Congress.

“There are many people who betrayed the Congress many a times, they think that they are more loyal than us,” he said.

Moily said he joined the Congress in 1968 and had remained loyal to the party.

“There are some people who really let Indira Gandhi, and the Congress party down… they think they are more loyal than the King whereas many of us stood by Congress party and fought in most difficult times for the Congress party,” he added.

After a marathon seven-hour-long meeting, the CWC on Monday decided that Sonia Gandhi will continue as the party’s interim president and effect necessary organisational changes while an AICC session will be called at the earliest to start the process of electing a new chief.

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