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A day after the crucial meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) where a letter by 23 senior party leaders became the key point of confrontation, some senior leaders from that group on Tuesday responded by saying that they were not dissenters and the suggestions were made in sincerity to seek internal affairs. They added that the idea was not to challenge the top leadership including party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Significantly, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday led Congress MLAs from the state at a legislative party meeting to pass a vote of thanks to Gandhi for the decision to continue leading the party. While introducing the proposal, Hooda, one of the signatories of the letter, said on Tuesday that Gandhi was the most accepted leader of the party.

The development is significant because several members at the meeting of apex decision making body on Monday had hit out at the letter which had called for systematic overhaul of the party including need for a full-time and effective leadership. While the party on Monday had announced that Sonia Gandhi would continue as the interim chief, it had taken cognizance of the letter and said that the process to chose her successor would start soon.

“Well said. The letter was written with the best interest of the party in our hearts and conveying shared concerns over the present environment in the country and sustained assault on the foundational values of the constitution," Anand Sharma, former union minister and deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “India needs a strong opposition to confront the BJP. Suggestions for party's renewal made in sincerity is not dissent. Wish all colleagues had read it," he added.

Sharma’s tweet was in response to a post put by his Rajya Sabha colleague and senior leader Vivek Tankha earlier in the day. “Friends we are not dissenters but proponents of revival. The letter was not a challenge to leadership but a parchment of action to strengthen the party. Universally truth is best defence whether it be Court or Public Affairs. History acknowledges the brave and not the timid," Tankha posted.

“Well said. Sooner than later those who saw the letter as an offence will also realise that the issues raised are worth consideration," former union minister and party’s general secretary Mukul Wasnik wrote while responding to Tankha. Both Sharma and Wasnik are members of the CWC and were signatories of the letter.

The meeting on Monday saw fireworks with the CWC eventually adopting a resolution which authorized Gandhi to implement any organizational changes to address challenges that have arisen. Congress has lost last two Lok Sabha elections with humiliating electoral defeats while taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi led union government. In the letter, the senior leaders had called for the need to find ways to effectively connect with youth, devolution of powers to party’s state units and revamping the CWC in line with the party’s constitution.

A section of the 23 leaders had held a meeting at the official residence of leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad on late Monday evening after the CWC meeting. According to people aware of developments, Congress could soon announce a committee to assist Sonia Gandhi into looking at the challenges posed to the party. This committee is likely to have either four or five members. Additionally, party leaders are expecting that certain organization related changes could also be announced in the coming days.

“The discussion on such a committee took place on Monday. We are expecting that it would get announced soon. CWC has unanimously put its faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and has urged that she should be replaced by former party president Rahul Gandhi. There is no official indication as to when the AICC session will take place but we are hoping that it is sooner than later," a senior member of CWC said requesting anonymity.

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