It seems that the battle for 'real' Congress has begun in Uttar Pradesh as expelled senior Congress leaders, who held a parallel foundation day function in Lucknow on Saturday, have decided to hold similar events in all districts and then a state-level conference in UP's Noida.
"Some leaders in the party are making a joke of the Congress constitution. Injustice has been done to the ten senior party leaders who have been 'expelled' from the party. We will stand by them," said former Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Arun Kumar Singh Munna.
Expelled Congress leader Santosh Singh said that they had been expelled by those who have criminal antecedents. "This is the level of the disciplinary committee that does not even know the process of taking an action," he said.
Former minister Satyadev Tripathi said that they would embark on a fresh battle to save the Congress from the elements who want to destroy the party.
Former MLC Haji Siraj Mehndi said that the fact that they were getting support from various districts indicated clearly that all was not well in the party.
Another expelled leader Swayam Prakash Goswami said that the fight was between 'asli' and 'naqli' Congress leaders. "The party has been taken over by vested interests and we are being denied access to the party high command by such elements," he said.
Later, the leaders said that it was wrong to say that they were against the induction of youth in the party.
"Most of us have come into the Congress from the student politics and we welcome the young generation. We are opposed to completely sidelining the seniors and handing over the reins of the party to those who do not believe in the Congress ideology," said one of the leaders.
The elders said that despite their requests, they were not allowed to meet Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi during her Lucknow visit on Saturday and neither were they invited for the foundation day functions.
The expelled Congress leaders organised separate celebrations to mark the party's 135th foundation day here on Saturday.
In November, Congress had expelled ten senior party leaders after they held a meeting to voice their resentment over the present state leadership and its style of functioning.
(With inputs from IANS.)