Congress President Sonia Gandhi has approved the removal of former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and former Union food minister KV Thomas from all party posts over “anti-party activities”, reports said.
The action came after the five-member Congress disciplinary committee, chaired by party veteran AK Antony, met to discuss complaints against the two leaders.
The panel also discussed the complaints about five party MLAs in Meghalaya who had extended support to the National People’s Party-led government in the state in which the BJP is an ally. The lawmakers have been suspended, according to sources.
Jakhar had criticised former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and termed him a liability for the party after the Congress lost to the Aam Aadmi Party in the recently held Assembly polls.
Ahead of the disciplinary committee meet on Tuesday, Jakhar had anticipated action against him. He was served a show-cause notice by the panel on April 11 asking him to respond within a week. However, he chose not to reply to the panel.
"Aaj, sar kalam honge unke jinme abhi zameer baaki hai (today, those with a conscience will be beheaded). My apologies to Javed Akhtar Saheb, said Jakhar in a tweet on Tuesday.
The panel’s meeting held on Tuesday was attended by members JP Aggarwal, Tariq Anwar, apart from AK Antony. “Our recommendations have been approved by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi-ji. Both of them will remain in the party but will not have any official position,” Anwar was quoted by The Hindu as saying.
Thomas was show-caused for attending a CPM conference in Kerala despite Sonia Gandhi asking the state leaders not to do so. Thomas is a member of Kerala political affairs committee and the executive committee of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. A former Union minister Thomas' presence at the seminar organised on April 9 had not gone well with state leaders.
Some reports said that considering the seniority, the Congress chief did not favour harsh punishment and, instead, approved removal of the two leaders from party positions. The two leaders will not be holding any party position in near future, Anwar said.
The Congress chief also approved a three-year suspension for five Meghalaya MLAs for helping the BJP in the state.
Jakhar wished the party good luck after the action saying that he did not hold any position in the party.“The way in which the party leadership has handled my case they have belittled me and shown me in poor light. Such an attitude is not acceptable to me. I have already wished the party good luck. Moreover, I do not hold any position in the party,” Jakhar said.