After organising the ‘Global Gandhi Family’ event in Jammu and announcing to pull off a similar one in Haryana, the G23 leaders of the Congress party are all set to gather at Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s house. According to a report by Hindustan Times, Kapil Sibal will be hosting the ‘group of dissenters’ on August 9 (Monday), a day after he turned 73.
Among those likely to be present at the gathering are several of the so-called “G-23” leaders, who had voiced their opinion against the party’s leadership just a few months back.
Speaking on the same, Kapil Sibal told Hindustan Times: “It’s just a personal dinner for my friends… There’s nothing more to it.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor, who has received the invite, said: “As far as I understand, Kapil’s dinner is just a discussion among like-minded people from various parties about the best ways forward to defeat the BJP in 2024. It is in no way any sort of rebel movement in the party; instead, it seeks to strengthen the entire Opposition, including the Congress.”
According to the report, besides the G23 leaders, Nationalist Congress Party leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, Samajwadi Pary chief Akhilesh Yadav, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK’s) Tiruchi Siva, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad have also been invited for the gathering. Many Congress leaders who are not signatories are also likely to attend.
A Congress leader who was among the signatories of the G23 letter, however, said: “It’s been a year and there are many who feel that things have not moved.” “So we decided that we should take things beyond the Congress and also re-group,” the leader who asked to remain anonymous said.
A Congress spokesperson, who refused to formally comment on the matter, said that the event is being viewed as Sibal’s personal engagement which in no way would have an impact on the political party.
G23 leader Kapil Sibal concedes Congress is no competition to BJP
Kapil Sibal, who was among the G-23 leaders whose letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi last year demanding a meaningful overhaul of the party, had triggered a storm after he conceded that Congress is not a strong political alternative to the BJP. In an exclusive interview to PTI in June 2021, the Congress veteran opined that to demonstrate that Congress is no longer in a condition of inertia and to position itself as a credible political alternative to the BJP, Congress must implement comprehensive changes at all levels of the organisation.
Notably, the group of 23 (G-23) dissenting Congress leaders, in a show of strength, had organised an event in Jammu in February. Though that event was also termed as a private and not an official party visit, all the leaders of the G23, namely, Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, former union ministers Anand Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha and Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari, Gulam Navi Azad and Kapil Sibal had visited Jammu on February 27 to attend the 3-day ‘Global Gandhi Family’ event.