Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Jammu, February 27
In a massive jolt to the party, Congress dissenters on Saturday publicly called the party weak and claimed they were marshalling forces to strengthen it. The Congress reacted gently, describing the dissenters as family respectables and asking, “If they care so much about the party, why don’t they canvass in poll-bound states?”
Led by Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, six rebels, sporting saffron turbans, appeared together at an event in Jammu. Former law and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal led the offensive against his own party, saying it was time to speak the truth.
“Why are we assembled here? The truth is we can all see the Congress is weakening. We had assembled earlier too because we believe together we have to strengthen the Congress,” said Sibal in the presence of former minister Anand Sharma, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Punjab MP Manish Tewari, Raj Babbar and Vivek Tankha, all members of a group of 23 leaders who wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 to initiate a comprehensive party overhaul. The event, organised by Gandhi Global Family, was meant to facilitate Azad, who recently retired as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha after his term ended. Azad said he had retired from Parliament but not from public service. Sibal however said: “No one wanted Ghulam nabi Azad to leave Parliament. I cannot fathom why the party is not using the experience of a person like Ghulam Nabi Azad?” Sibal asked, inviting a rebuttal from the Congress which listed the several party posts Azad had held in his 40-year political career.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “We are proud and so is Mr Azad that he has held the Congress flag aloft for more than seven terms in Parliament, five in the Rajya Sabha and two in the Lok Sabha. We are both proud that Congress president Sonia Gandhi nominated Mr Azad as CM of J&K where he had a successful tenure. Mr Azad has been a respected Union Minister for over three decades and over the same period he has been AICC general secretary exercising supervision over more than 20 states.” The Congress also said the best contribution to the Congress cause would be “to get active in the various campaigns ongoing every day in the five states where the Congress is fighting elections.”
Anand Sharma said: “I have not given anyone the right to tell me if we are Congress men or not. We will build the party and strengthen it.”
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