Shehzad Poonawalla appropriates Sardar Patel, says he feels insulted

ANI | Updated: Dec 03, 2017 17:43 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 3 (ANI): Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Sunday maintained his stance on the presidential election of his party, appropriating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the party's alleged non-allegiance towards him.

Speaking to ANI, Poonawalla said, "I did not raise my voice for the party ticket. I don't want the president post in Congress. I only said that we must try to end the dynastic politics and we must have elections for the president post, not the selection or coronation of Rahul Gandhi. When I raised my voice for this, they said I was not a party member. If Sardar Patel was insulted by Congress leadership back then, I feel the same way today."

On a related note, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been attacking Congress, alleging it of having sidelined Sardar Patel in the party cadres.

The fight over Sardar Patel's legacy escalated on October 31, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked Congress for having tried to "run down and erase" the former's contributions to the unification of the country after Independence.

Meanwhile, Poonawalla claimed many Congress leaders, including Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, and Manish Tiwari, had termed the process to elect party president "rigged".

"I provided the proof of many Congress leaders calling this election rigged and many called it a proprietorship, but there was no answer from Congress. They humiliated me instead," he added.

The Congress leader further said he even called up Rahul Gandhi's office to stop the process, but they hung up his call.

"Today also I sent a message and made a call to Rahul Gandhi to ask him for time so that I could give a proof before he files his nomination for this coronation; so that he has some morality and stops the process and takes the right decision. But his office insulted me and cut the phone," he added.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi endorsed Poonawalla's allegations and called out the rival party for the lack of "internal democracy" within.

"A youngster Shehzad has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress president poll. And Shehzad is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra. The Congress Party has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to even remove him from their social media groups. What tolerance is this!" the prime minister said, addressing a rally in Gujarat.

The prime minister further dubbed the discord thus exposed within the Congress Party as indicative of its ineffectuality to govern a nation. (ANI)