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India

Sibal’s ‘Not Ji Huzoor 23’ Remark Sparks Row, Maken Says Don’t Denigrate Party That Gave You All

Sibal said he was speaking on behalf of the 23 Congressmen who had written to interim president Sonia Gandhi last year in August demanding organisational reforms.

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File Photo of Kapil Sibal (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Congress veteran Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said the leaders who have raised their voices over issues within the party will continue to do so instead of simply bowing down to the commands of the top brass. Sibal said he was speaking on behalf of the 23 Congressmen who had written to interim president Sonia Gandhi last year in August raising issues within the party and demanding organisational reforms. He demanded that an immediate meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

The senior leader said, “We are the G23 and not Ji Huzoor 23.” He said the leaders are still awaiting action over their demands regarding election of the office of the president, to Congress Working Committee (CWC) and central election committee.

“I’m speaking to you (media) on behalf of those Congressmen who wrote the letter in August last year and are waiting for the actions to be taken by our leadership in respect of the election of the office of the president, to CWC and central election committee,” said Sibal.

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“In our party, there is no president so we don’t know who is taking these decisions. We know and yet we don’t know,” said Sibal in Delhi.

Sibal said the G23 leaders do not plan to quit the party and fight for structural reforms within the party. “We (leaders of G-23) are not the ones who will leave the party and go anywhere else. 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.”

Echoing the same demand, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has written a letter to Sonia Gandhi, asking her to convene an urgent meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC), ANI quoted its sources as saying.

Ajay Maken Hits Back At Sibal

Responding to Sibal’s statements in the media, Congress leader Ajay Maken said, “Sonia Gandhi had ensured that Kapil Sibal becomes a minister in Union Cabinet despite not having organisational background. Everyone in the party is being heard. I want to tell Mr Sibal and others that they shouldn’t degrade the organisation that gave them an identity.”

Maken alleged that leaders like Sibal are demoralising the party cadres who have stood by the Congress ideology. “Such remarks by leaders like Sibal, who have got everything from the organisation and the leadership, demoralise the party cadres and ordinary workers who continue to stand with the Congress ideology and are fighting the fundamental and fascist forces on the streets,” he said.

Congress Workers Protest

Congress workers from Chandni Chowk, the constituency that Sibal represented in Lok Sabha in the past, also protested outside his residence holding placards with “Get well soon” message. They raised slogans against Sibal alleging that he never bothered to ask about the people who elected him in the past.

According to some reports, few of the angered protesters also threw tomatoes at Sibal’s house and car.

Sibal On Punjab Congress Crisis And Leaders Quitting Congress

Commenting on the ongoing Punjab Congress crisis, the senior leader said, “A border state where this is happening to Congress party means what? It is an advantage to ISI and Pakistan. We know the history of Punjab and the rise of extremism there… Congress should ensure that they remain united.”

Sibal appealed to the those who have jumped ship in the past few days to return to the party fold in order to strengthen the grand old party. “Every Congressman of the country should think as to how the party can be strengthened. Those who have left should come back because Congress alone can save this republic.”

“Our people are leaving us. Sushmita Dev left, Luizinho Falerio, Jitin Prasada has now got the cabinet berth. The question is, why are they leaving? We need to ask ourself, possibility is that even we are at fault,” he went on to say.