Congress dissenters not asked to campaign in Bihar: Report
The rift in Congress, out in open after the recent debacle, took a new turn when sources close to leader Kapil Sibal said he hadn't been asked to campaign in Bihar, reports NDTV. Sibal was the first leader to speak on Congress' decline but drew criticism from partymen. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the leader in Lok Sabha, had mocked Sibal's absence from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Here's more.
Background: Sibal was among the "23" who signed unprecedented letter
Sibal was one of the 23 dissenters who signed a letter seeking an overhaul in the party leadership. After a row over the letter in August, Congress Working Committee decided to let Sonia Gandhi remain at the helm for six more months, till the party hunts her successor. Three months have passed since then, but the course correction seems afar.
Congress has been rejected by voters, said Sibal
After Bihar and by-poll results were out — Congress won merely 19 seats of the 70 it contested in the state — Sibal lamented over the state of affairs within the party. He said the party is no longer an effective alternative for voters. The 72-year-old also said he was forced to talk to media, as communication channels don't exist within Congress.
Responding to Sibal, Chowdhury advised him to float own party
Naturally, his words didn't sit well with many Congress members; Chowdhury went as far as saying that Sibal should form his own party. "Had Kapil Sibal gone to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, he could have proven that what he is saying is correct and that he strengthened the position of Congress," he added. Chowdhury also wanted senior leaders to not make "embarrassing, sweeping" statements.
Apparently, G-23 leaders were sidelined during electioneering
While Sibal has chosen to not respond to these attacks, people close to him told the daily that Chowdhury's statements were unfortunate. "Most of the G-23 leaders (the group of leaders who signed the letter) were not on the list of party campaigners for Bihar and none of them could even go to campaign unless the party officially requests them," sources told NDTV.
"We know who is the leader," said Khurshid, attacking Sibal
Besides Chowdhury, senior Congressman, Salman Khurshid, also said there is no doubt about who is the party's leader. "The fact is we know who the leader is, the fact is we follow the leader," he said. Khurshid also refused to accept that Congress has been rejected across the country. But he added, "We don't have that support that we obviously aspire to."
A Gandhi loyalist, Khurshid also slammed "doubting Thomases"
Further, Khurshid took a dig at "doubting Thomases" claiming they have "periodic pangs of anxiety." "If the mood of the electorate is resistant to the liberal values we have espoused and cherished we should be prepared for a long struggle rather than look for short cuts to get back into power," he said.