'If Rahul Gandhi is doing so much for the country and the party without thinking about his own health, then I realised that the only way to impress upon Soniaji and all those who are campaigning against him about how ordinary party workers are looking up to Rahulji was to write a letter in blood.'
"Rahul Gandhi has huge acceptability in India and if not today, then tomorrow, Rahul Gandhi will become the party's president," Sandeep Tanvar -- a member of the All India Congress Commitee who wrote a letter in blood to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi beseeching her to make Rahul the party president -- tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com. The first of a two-part interview:
Why did you write a letter in your blood to Sonia Gandhi? What point were you making?
When the Congress lost the 2014 parliamentary election under Rahul Gandhi's leadership he didn't sulk. He went out immediately among the people and has been sweating it out, making a sincere effort to revive the party's electoral prospects.
He is a determined man; he is a fighter.
A few days ago, during a meeting of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee which was attended by our president Anil Chaudhary, I had announced that Rahul Gandhi sweating out among the people to regain the Congress's glory inspires ordinary soldiers of the party like me to even shed their blood for the noble purpose.
The whole night I kept awake thinking how hard Rahulji is working and it is now time that ordinary workers, the people in the streets, encourage him and take the party to great electoral heights.
After the 2014 loss, Rahulji's leadership abilities has helped the Congress win Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan despite heavy odds.
He was the first one in the country to caution the Narendra Modi government about the economic ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was the one engaging with farmers, labourers and everybody affected by the pandemic.
If he is doing so much for the country and the party without thinking about his own health, then I realised that the only way to impress upon Soniaji and all those who are campaigning against him about how ordinary party workers are looking up to Rahulji was to write a letter in blood.
My letter and the act of writing it in blood are purely symbolic of our love for Rahulji and workers like me want him to lead the party as its president.
Despite such love and affection of ordinary workers towards Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, why is there tension within the party over the appointment of the party president?
Senior Congress leaders want a non-Gandhi to lead the party.
The Congress is a huge family, a huge umbrella like a banyan tree under which different shades of opinion exist; people have their differences over certain issues and they do express these views in public and private.
These leaders, instead of writing such a letter, could have met Soniaji personally and aired their views. It could have been done in a manner that would not have raised such a storm and dust.
They could have voiced their views in the CWC (Congress Working Committee) meeting or at some other fora, but then writing a letter and then leaking it to the public was improper.
The timing was completely out of place when the world and the country are fighting the coronavirus pandemic and even Soniaji is not keeping well.
Let me say that the Congress has rewarded and respected most of the signatories to the letter and given them important leadership roles at the Centre and at state level.
The party has made them what they are today. And that applies equally to every single loyal Congress worker.
During elections to the legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha it is Soniaji, Rahulji and Priyankaji that rally people around them and work for the party's victories.
People vote for us because they believe in the leadership of the Gandhis. I feel hurt that given this truth such a letter was written by some of our party men.
Is there a faction within the Congress that is conspiring against Rahul Gandhi's leadership of the party?
Let me put it differently. I disagree that there is a problem (conspiracy).
Some people wanted to raise this issue, which in itself is very democratic, but the manner in which this was done doesn't go well with the stature of the leaders who have written it.
Perhaps, they wanted to say something else, but it got lost in the way they did it and then the media too blew it out of proportion.
The Gandhis will always remain unchallenged in Congress. They had been, are and will remain the undisputed leaders of the party.