In UP, the INTUC had a formidable presence, which has eroded due to factionalism.


New Delhi: Despite Congress president Sonia Gandhi personally intervening and setting a deadline, the Congress leaders entrusted with the job to settle the more than 15-year-old intra-party dispute regarding which is the “real” Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) amicably, have failed to arrive at any result and the dispute continues to fester on. With the objective to revive the INTUC and the Congress among the worker class, Gandhi, had in August last year summoned the two warring leaders—Jharkhand-based Chandrashekhar Dubey and Andhra Pradesh based G Sanjeev Reddy and deputed party general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh and leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge—to work on the modalities on how to resolve the dispute and unite the two factions. Both Reddy and Dubey claim to be the president of the “real” INTUC and this has led to both the groups filing a series of legal suits against each other in multiple courts across India. As a collateral damage of this more than 15-year-old dispute, INTUC has lost its support and recognition.
Gandhi, while asking the two factions to sort out the differences amicably, had stated that if they are not able to solve it by themselves, the party would take a decision on its own. A deadline of year end (December 2021) was set by Gandhi for the issues to be resolved. Following this, the two factions submitted troves of documents with the two members committee comprising Singh and Kharge essentially to prove which of the two was the more “influential” INTUC. However, after this August meeting and the subsequent submission of documents, the issue died down with the central leadership getting busy with other issues.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to K.C. Venugopal seeking a response on the matter. Venugopal, in his response, said that “settlement issue in the matter was in progress”. Following the party’s poor show in elections in Uttar Pradesh, where the INTUC used to have a formidable presence, much of which stands eroded due to factionalism, the two groups were asked by party general secretary K.C. Venugopal on 6 April to withdraw all the cases filed against each other in different courts of India by 30 April. According to Delhi-based party functionaries, the dispute continued to linger on as the Reddy faction was not “cooperating”. While the Dubey group has already submitted a “modality of settlement” from their side and have been regularly responding and submitting documents as desired by the two members committee, the Reddy group have not been cooperating. Significantly it was the Reddy group that had first turned the intra-party dispute into a legal one by filing a court case in Delhi High court in 2010 seeking to prohibit the Dubey group from functioning as the president of the INTUC. The said petition, however, was declared infructuous on 24 March 2014.
While the Dubey group has stated in writing that they are willing to withdraw cases filed by them, no such correspondence has been received from Reddy group. In February 2017, the Union labour ministry had barred INTUC, founded three months before Indian independence, from participating in any tripartite or bipartite meetings on both national and international platforms citing the intra-union battle among INTUC’s leadership.