Reports that Rahul Gandhi had accused Congress leaders who had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping reforms and a "full-time leadership" were "in cahoots with the BJP" provoked a fierce response from some of the signatories. However, Kapil Sibal, one of the leaders behind the letter, withdrew an angry tweet saying Rahul Gandhi "had personally informed him" that he never made the remarks attributed to him.
Rahul Gandhi's remarks were reported by sources from a volatile meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which began with Sonia Gandhi announcing her decision to quit as Congress president and asking the party to start looking for her replacement.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, another signatory to the explosive letter and a member of the CWC, read out the letter and offered to resign as he faced criticism from several leaders, including the Gandhis.
Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who is also among the 23 letter-writers, posted a blistering response to Rahul Gandhi's allegation: "Rahul Gandhi says we are colluding with BJP. Succeeded in Rajasthan High Court defending the Congress party. Defending party in Manipur to bring down BJP Government. Last 30 years have never made a statement in favour of BJP on any issue yet 'we are colluding with the BJP!'"
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala replied to the tweet: "Rahul Gandhi hasn't said a word of this nature nor alluded to it. Please don't be misled by false media discourse or misinformation being spread. But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather than fighting and hurting each other and the Congress."
Sh. Rahul Gandhi hasn't said a word of this nature nor alluded to it.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) August 24, 2020
Pl don't be mislead by false media discourse or misinformation being spread.
But yes, we all need to work together in fighting the draconian Modi rule rather then fighting & hurting each other & the Congress. https://t.co/x6FvPpe7I1
Mr Sibal soon deleted his previous tweet and wrote: "Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him . I therefore withdraw my tweet ." The gesture by Rahul Gandhi to reach out and clarify was interpreted as a sign of "ice-breaking" as the party appeared to be caught in a firestorm of public accusations and feuding.
Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him .— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) August 24, 2020
I therefore withdraw my tweet .
Sources say it was senior leader KC Venugopal who drew Rahul Gandhi's attention to the "BJP collusion" comment reports and the backlash.
Rahul Gandhi, in his intervention at the CWC meet, asked why the letter attacked the Congress when it was at its weakest, when it was battling crises in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and when the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) was unwell.