The Punjab fiasco has once again brought the Congress vs Congress crisis to the spotlight, with senior leaders now coming in support of Kapil Sibal, who had raised eyebrows with his ‘Not Ji-Huzoor 23’ remark, on Wednesday.
Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet, not only extended support to Sibal, but also condemned the protest outside the latter’s house on Thursday night by Delhi Congress workers during which his car was smashed and slogans raised.
“That is shameful. We all know @KapilSibal as a true Congressman who has fought multiple cases in court for @INCIndia. 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 theBJP!” he tweeted.
Tharoor’s tweet followed senior leader Manish Tewari’s remarks, terming the protest outside Sibal’s house an act of “hooliganism”. “Those who are trying to defend the‘ command performance’ last night This is what happened @KapilSibal ‘s house “They damaged the car. Stood on top,so it caved in .Threw tomatoes both outside and inside the house .If this is not hooliganism then what else is it?” Tewari wrote.
Congress veteran and former Union minister P. Chidambaram also expressed concern about the developments, saying, “I feel helpless when we cannot start meaningful conversations within party forums. I also feel hurt and helpless when I see pictures of Congress workers raising slogans outside the residence of a colleague and MP. The safe harbour to which one can withdraw seems to be silence.”
Sibal, during a presser on Thursday, said they would raise issues as “We are G-23, definitely not Ji Huzoor-23”. He also rued a series of desertions the party has suffered recently, mentioning Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Sushmita Dev and Luizinho Faleiro. This came a day after Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned as the Punjab Congress president, sending shockwaves across the state’s political circles.
Sibal is one of the most aggressive faces of the G-23, the group comprising dissenting Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari and Anand Sharma, among others. 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, at his press conference, had complained that despite flagging the issues last year, the high command was yet to take action. “I stand here with a heavy heart. Our people are leaving us. Sushmita, Faleiro… Jitin becomes minister.. Scindia also left long back… Everywhere people are leaving us. In our party, there is no president. We know, yet we don’t know,” Sibal had said, also adding that he can’t see Congress becoming weaker.