The Punjab incident has once again thrown the Congress vs Congress crisis into the limelight, with senior leaders now coming out in support of Kapil Sibal, who raised eyebrows with his ‘not ji-huzoor 23’ remark on Wednesday.
Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor not only extended his support to Sibal in a tweet, but also condemned the protest outside Sibal’s house on Thursday night by Delhi Congress workers during which his car was vandalized and slogans were raised.
“This is shameful. We all know @KapilSibal as a true Congressman who has fought many cases in court for @INCIndia. As a democratic party we need to hear what he has to say, Disagree, but not in this way. Our priority is to strengthen ourselves to take on BJP! he tweeted.
Tharoor’s tweet termed the protest outside Sibal’s house as “hooliganism” after senior leader Manish Tewari’s remarks. “Those who are trying to defend ‘Command Demonstration’ last night, this is what happened at @KapilSibal’s house” They damaged the car. He stood up, then fell. Throw tomatoes both outside and inside the house. If this is not hooliganism then what is? Tiwari wrote.
Congress veteran and former Union minister P. Chidambaram also expressed concern over the developments, saying, “I feel helpless when we cannot initiate meaningful dialogue within the party forums. When I visit the residence of one of my colleague and MP. I also feel hurt and helpless when I see pictures of Congress workers shouting slogans outside U.P.
Sibal said during a press briefing on Thursday that he would raise the issue as “we are G-23, definitely not Ji Huzoor-23”. He also lamented the recent defeat of the party, citing Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Sushmita Dev and Luizinho Faleiro. This came a day after Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from the post of Punjab Congress President, triggering a shock wave in the political circles of the state.
Sibal is one of the most aggressive faces of G-23, a group that includes disgruntled Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Anand Sharma. These leaders had written a letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi last August, calling for a full-time party president and sweeping changes within the organisation.
Sibal had complained in his press conference that despite flagging the issues last year, the high command had not yet acted. “I am standing here with a heavy heart. Our people are leaving us. Sushmita, Faleiro… Jitin became minister.. Scindia also left long ago… People everywhere are leaving us. There is no president in our party. We know, yet we do not know,” Sibal had also said that he cannot see the Congress weakening.