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New Delhi: The Congress Disciplinary Committee on Monday decided to seek clarification from senior leaders Sunil Jakhar and KV Thomas following complaints from them. The committee, headed by senior party leader AK Antony, met in Delhi after several party leaders complained that both the leaders had violated the party’s directives.

“We have decided to send them a show cause notice… We have given them a week’s time to reply… Tariq Anwar, one of the members of the disciplinary committee, said. Jakhar, the former Punjab unit chief, had allegedly made some derogatory remarks against former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, a Dalit Sikh leader.

Channi had raised the issue with Rahul Gandhi, who had appointed him to the top post a few months before the assembly elections last year. Congress leaders from the Dalit community, Udit Raj and Rajkumar Verka, had demanded that Jakhar be expelled from the party over his alleged remarks. Former Union Minister Thomas had recently participated in a CPI(M) meeting against the party’s directive. Thomas was reportedly angry with the Congress as he was denied a Rajya Sabha seat, while Jakhar was reportedly angry that he was not made the chief minister as the high command had decided to replace the then chief minister Amarinder Singh last year.

Once the disciplinary panel has read the responses of both the leaders, they will recommend appropriate action to party chief Sonia Gandhi, who will decide on the matter. Earlier, the party had asked Shashi Tharoor not to attend a seminar on Centre-State relations organized as part of CPI(M)’s 23rd Party Congress. Tharoor had followed the party’s directive, but Thomas violated it, which left both the central and state leadership agitated.

The Congress-led UDF had lost in last year’s Kerala Assembly elections to the CPI(M)-led LDF, which won a second consecutive victory under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

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