New Delhi, May 25
Former HRD and law minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday joined the growing list of leaders quitting the Congress and filed his nomination for the June 10 Rajya Sabha election from the Samajwadi Party.
Sibal, a prominent member of the G 23 who flagged lack of reforms in the Congress, had taken a staunch position against the party’s ruling Gandhi family and had literally walked to the point of no return by arguing publicly that Gandhis should step aside from the leadership position and enable meaningful change.
With other G 23 members Ghulam Nabi Azad, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Anand Sharma among others reaching a compromise with the leadership, Sibal was largely isolated in the anti-Gandhi space.
Filing his RS nomination from Uttar Pradesh today with the support of Samajwadi Party, Sibal said he would work to bring anti-BJP forces together to fight the Modi government in 2024 General Election.
Sibal, earlier, hosted opposition leaders twice to this effect.
He said he had resigned from the Congress on May 16, a day after the Congress Udaipur Chintan Shivir ended.
Sibal clarified he would remain an independent voice and will not join the SP.
Sibal said, “We are all constrained by fact that we are members of parties and have to abide by discipline of that party but it is important to be an independent voice. When an independent voice will emerge, people will find it credible since that voice will not be associated with any party. We want to stay in the opposition and make a coalition and oppose the Modi government.
We want to create an atmosphere in India in which we can oppose the BJP. I will personally work towards that,” Sibal said.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said Sibal will go to the Rajya Sabha with the SP support and two more leaders will be nominated gradually.
“Mr Sibal is a seasoned lawyer and had a rich political career behind him. At a time when prices are rising, borders are vulnerable, People’s troubles are rising, Mr Sibal and SP will articulate the concerns of the public,” said Yadav.
Sibal was first elected to Rajya Sabha in July 1998 on RJD nomination.
He later joined the Congress and was Lok Sabha MP from Chandni Chowk in 2004 and 2009.
Sibal was re-elected to Rajya Sabha by the Congress in 2016.
Importantly, Sibal wields tremendous influence across parties for his consistent defence of political leaders the latest being SP’s Azam Khan whose bail he secured.
Sibal’s exit from the Congress comes after similar exits of former law minister Ashwani Kumar, former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and former Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel.
Sibal is 76. Exiting the Congress he said the burning issues of the country include lack of effective education for children, and issues concerning women.
Sibal refrained from commenting on the Congress saying, “When I was in the Congress I would comment on the Congress. Now that I have quit the Congress I would not like to say anything. The very fact that my over three decade long association with the Congress is ending tells you something."
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