Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh speaks during a press conference regarding party's 'Bharat Joda Yatra', in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: PTI
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Tuesday claimed that the grouping of the G-23 "never existed" in the party and blamed the media for "perpetuating this mythology."
Days after Ghulam Nabi Azad, who led the group of dissidents quit the Congress, AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that G-23 was a creation of the media and accused it of "perpetuating" the "mythology" of such a grouping.
"G-23 is a figment of your imagination. Where is the G-23 now? It never existed. Why you are going on perpetuating this mythology of G-23," Ramesh said, reacting to a query on the possibility of participation of the leaders of dissident group in the party's upcoming mega organisational programme Bharat Jodo yatra led by Rahul Gandhi.
During his interaction with media along with party's senior leader Digvijaya Singh and AICC general secretary Tariq Anwar and attended by Kerala leaders including Shashi Tharoor, Ramesh said, "There is no G-23. There is only a G-Congress (an apparent reference to the Gandhian Congress)."
Singh also lashed out at the leaders who quit the Congress over their alleged differences with the leadership, saying they walked out of the party not because of the ideological issues.
"Tell me one statement of the person you are mentioning...Has he given any statement against the RSS or the BJP or Mr Modi or the functioning of the BJP government? What kind of politics is this,? Singh said when asked about the resignation of Azad from the party.
The senior party leaders' statement assumes significance in wake of the speculation that the dissident G-23 group may field candidates for the Congress presidential polls in October this year.
Later, talking to the reporters, Tharoor, who was among the signatories to the letter written by the G-23 group demanding reforms in the party in 2020, said the reports about the possibility of him contesting for the party president's post were "only speculation".
The Thiruvananthapuram MP, however, said he would be able to clearly say about his candidature only after the election notification is announced.
The Congress Working Committee on Sunday decided to hold the election for the party's full-time president on October 17.
The notification for the election will be issued on September 22, while the filing of nominations would begin on September 24 and continue till September 30, the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry had said after a nearly 30-minute meeting of the CWC.