Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], Sep 1 (ANI): Recalling an incident which took place before the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, Congress leader M Shashidhar Reddy launched an attack on senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and "some of his 23 friends" and accused them of not wanting to see Rahul Gandhi emerge as a big leader.
"When I was the Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in 2011 and Azad was the Health minister I tried to meet him for two months to discuss the plight of people in Eastern Uttar Pradesh who were suffering due to Japanese encephalitis and AES. Hundreds of children were dying every year, this was a serious situation," Reddy told ANI here.
"Finally it took a letter written in blood by about 500 people from Gorakhpur, addressed to the Prime Minister, President, Rahul Gandhi, and Azad. The government was persuaded to sanction a national program for JE and AES. Unfortunately, this was not talked about before or during the elections in UP. Rahul Gandhi campaigned vigorously during these elections, but this issue was not highlighted in the manner in which it could have been," he added.
The Congress leader said that the Samajwadi Party (SP) had made it a major election issue and came to power.
"Why did Azad not make it an issue in UP at that time. Today, all we can say is that neither Azad nor some of his friends in the group of 23 would like Rahul Gandhi to emerge as a strong leader," he said.
Reddy also slammed the Congress leaders for ignoring Congress president Sonia Gandhi saying she had forgiven all those at the CWC meeting held in August after the letter written by Azad and over 20 other party leaders pushing for reforms had surfaced.
He also recounted another incident regarding election to the CWC at the AICC plenary at Tirupati in 1992, in which not even one member of the ST, SC community had been elected.
"Then Congress president and PM PV Narasimha Rao got the elected CWC to resign and nominated the entire CWC, giving representation to all sections," Reddy said, countering Azad's claims of election being necessary for the Congress party to grow.
Earlier, asserting that appointed Congress president may not have even one per cent support in the party, Azad, one of the signatories to the "dissident" letter, had pitched for elections to the CWC and key organisational posts of state chiefs, district presidents, block presidents and said that those opposing are afraid of losing their positions. (ANI)