No clarity on Congress' internal polls, says 'dissenter' Kapil Sibal
Kapil Sibal, one of the 23 Congress leaders to write a letter to party President Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping changes, said there's no clarity on when internal polls will be held, a statement that shows the grand old party's refusal to accept ground realities. Earlier, it was reported that Congress was waiting for former President Rahul Gandhi to return from abroad.
In August, 23 leaders (dubbed G-23), reached out to Sonia saying it's necessary for Congress to make serious changes. The letter created a flutter, Sonia expressed the desire to resign but the party's top-most body — Congress Working Committee (CWC) — concluded she would remain at the helm for six months. It was also announced that her successor would be chosen in this duration.
On December 19, Sonia finally met a section of the dissenters. A source had said at the time that she wanted to end the crisis at the earliest but Sibal's words prove the party isn't showing any sense of urgency. To note, Sibal didn't participate in meeting with Sonia as he was traveling. "I think that we had an open discussion," he had said.
"The Congress president, who is at the moment, guiding the party said that there would be an election. Now, we aren't clear what these elections are going to be....we believe that elections will be conducted consistent with the provisions of the Constitution," Sibal added.
Sibal hopes that the elections for Congress president, CWC, and Central Election Committee happen together, as it's a part of the Constitution. He added that the dissenters also want the revival of the Parliamentary Board. "Since the meeting on December 19, we're almost one month down the road....we've had no response on how and when this will happen," he continued.
Sibal also took potshots at those who believed Congress is still a strong political force, by saying there's a need to look at what was happening in several states. "There is a level of disenchantment. I can talk about Delhi...several leaders have come to me and expressed grave concern about processes in Delhi and want the party to act swiftly," he said.
When the veteran Congress leader was asked to shed light on talks about Rahul's return as the chief, he said that he isn't supposed to respond to speculations. Asked if his return would change anything, Sibal said he doesn't know. It all depends on the processes taken, according to the Constitution, and on consultations with key personalities within the party, he explained.
Earlier, an HT report claimed that the panel, given responsibility for organizing polls, was waiting for Rahul's return to finalize the schedule. He had left for abroad on December 27 and returned last week. Once the date-sheet is finalized, CWC will hold a meeting to approve it, sources told the daily. To note, the last time CWC poll happened was in 1997.