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Home » Rahul confidant Pitroda draws Corbyn row fire | India News

Rahul confidant Pitroda draws Corbyn row fire | India News

NEW DELHI: Resentment in Congress is running deep against the functioning of Indian Overseas Congress and Sam Pitroda after the controversy over a delegation’s meeting with the Labour chief in London put the AICC in a tight spot.
If James Corbyn’s tweet created a controversy which was fanned by the ruling BJP, Congress had to engage in an elaborate exchange with the Labour brass to clarify the situation and come out of the mess.
Congress insiders are seething at the unseemly sight of the party having to reiterate its stand that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal affair of India.
At the root of the political embarrassment is the virtual autonomy that IOC has come to enjoy over last couple of years, with Sam Pitroda being close to Rahul Gandhi, as a family friend as well as a sounding board.
If the IOC’s alleged discussion on Kashmir with the Labour chief came to light because of the tweet put out by James Corbyn, many are relieved that the spectacle around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US eclipsed the protests held in New York. Besides two Pakistani groups, there was presence of IOC members among the protesters in the US city, a source said. “We barely got out of it,” he remarked.
Congress circles argue that much as the party is vocal and aggressive in its opposition of Modi’s politics, it does not approve of dragging it abroad or fighting domestic issues on foreign land.
“We have never done it. That red line has to be accepted,” sources said.
According to Congress leaders, IOC was always an “affiliate” of the AICC which took orders from its “foreign affairs department”. Even now, when it is enjoying considerable latitude because of its chairman’s proximity to the party leadership, its mandate is still limited “to working among the diaspora” and it cannot “undertake independent action” on any issue.
While the IOC claimed that in its meeting with Corbyn, it condemned the resolution on Kashmir passed at the recent Labour convention, there is still concern in the AICC that the Labour has not issued a statement backing the IOC. That, it is felt, leaves a hole.
Many believe that Congress would have to rein in the IOC under Pitroda to avoid pitfalls in future.
Though a technocrat credited with telecom revolution in India, Pitroda enjoyed a high profile during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But he triggered a major fracas with his comment “hua to hua” about the 1984 Sikh riots. The remark gave ruling BJP a major issue to target Congress, forcing Rahul Gandhi to censure Pitroda during the election campaign.
Now again, the London meeting has given BJP a campaign plank against Congress in the ongoing assembly elections.

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