'Not Ji Huzoor-23': Kapil Sibal, others question Punjab crisis
Congress leader Kapil Sibal today expressed disappointment over the functioning of party and questioned its leadership amid an embarrassing crisis in the party's Punjab unit. His colleague, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has also expressed similar concerns. In Punjab, the grand old party faces an existential crisis after a series of shocking replacements and resignations, including that of its state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
"We are G-23, not Ji Huzoor 23...We will continue to reiterate our demands," Sibal said at a press conference. He also remarked the Congress has no elected president. "We don't know who is taking decisions." "It is ironic. Those who were close to them (party leadership) have left and those whom they don't consider to be close to them are still standing with them."
Azad, Congress veteran and another G-23 leader, has reportedly written to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi, calling for an immediate meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Sibal also mentioned that such a letter had been sent. "Why are people leaving? Maybe we should see whether it is our fault? We have to immediately call a CWC meeting," he said.
G-23 is a group of 23 Congress leaders who wrote to Gandhi last year, seeking sweeping changes in the party. They had demanded elections to the CWC and a "full-time leadership." Besides the aforementioned, Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor are also part of the group.
Sidhu quit the crucial post of Punjab Congress chief yesterday, merely two months after taking charge. His exit came as a surprise as he had set the stage for party stalwart Amarinder Singh's resignation as the Chief Minister and the appointment of a new CM, considered close to him. The drama unfolds just months before the state goes to polls early next year.
The Congress has faced similar internal disputes in other states as well, the prime example being Rajasthan, where there has been a feud between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot. It has also witnessed a string of exits by influential leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, and Sushmita Dev, who have since switched to other parties.