'True Congressman': Shashi Tharoor supports Sibal, day after violent protest
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today voiced support for his colleague Kapil Sibal, a day after some party workers protested outside the latter's house and damaged his car. Sibal, a member of the G-23 - a group of Congress dissidents - had yesterday questioned the party leadership over the ongoing Punjab crisis and other issues. Other Congress leaders, mainly from G-23, have also supported him.
"That is shameful. We all know Kapil Sibal as a true Congressman who has fought multiple cases in court for Congress," Tharoor tweeted. "As a democratic party we need to listen to what he has to say, disagree if you must but not in this way. Our priority is to strengthen ourselves to take on the BJP!" he said in context of yesterday's attack.
Sibal had, on Wednesday, criticized the party leadership over a series of decisions that led to its Punjab unit crisis. "We are G-23, definitely not Ji Huzoor-23," he told the media, adding he would keep raising issues in the party. Hours later, Congress workers shouted slogans against Sibal outside his house, threw tomatoes, and even damaged his car.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also condemned the attack. "Any suggestion from any quarter should be welcomed instead of suppressing, hooliganism is unacceptable," he said. Meanwhile, Anand Sharma said he was "shocked and disgusted" to learn about the attack. "Intolerance and violence is alien to Congress values and culture." Both of them belong to the G-23 group.
G-23 is a group of 23 Congress leaders who wrote to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi last year, seeking sweeping changes in the functioning of the party. They had demanded elections to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and a "full-time leadership."
Some Congress leaders, who are considered loyal to the leadership, hit back at G-23 members. Ajay Maken said, "Want to tell Sibal and others that they shouldn't degrade the organization that gave them an identity." "The 'suit-boot' club, whether in the government or in the organization, proves to be neither good for the public nor for the party," tweeted Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
The political turmoil in Punjab has reignited the Congress party's internal dispute. State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday quit the crucial post, merely two months after taking charge. His exit came as a surprise as he had earlier set the stage for former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's resignation. The drama unfolds just months before the state goes to polls early next year.