Saturday, June 15, 2024

‘Get well soon Sibal’: Punjab crisis triggers another round of ‘Congress vs Congress’ battle | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Punjab crisis has once again brought to fore the Congress vs Congress battle in the grand old party.
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s elevation as the Punjab Congress chief and his dramatic resignation from the post has not just put the state unit in a crisis but has also left the party leadership embarrassed and struggling for answers.
The trouble in Punjab Congress, triggered by Sidhu’s sustained campaign against senior party leader and former chief minister Amarinder Singh, has now turned into a full blown crisis that threatens to harm the party’s prospects in the assembly elections due early next year.
The unceremonious ouster of Amarinder Singh and the installation of dalit chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has not helped to settle the infighting in the Punjab unit.
And on Wednesday, the ripples of crisis in Punjab reached the national capital as senior leaders traded barbs.
The differences took an ugly turn today when some Congress workers protested outside the residence of senior leader Kapil Sibal, who questioned the decisions taken by the Congress leadership in Punjab.
Sibal held a press conference and wondered who in the party was taking decisions in the absence of a full-time president.
“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 the Congress leader taking a dig at the leadership.
Sibal, who has been vocal about the leadership crisis in the party, said “We are not “Jee Huzoor 23″. It is very clear. We will keep talking. We will continue to reiterate our demands.”
“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,” said Sibal.
Sibal is a part of the G23 (Group of 23) leaders, who last year raised a banner of revolt against the leadership and wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking a complete overhaul in the organisation and a visible leadership on the ground.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who currently leads the ‘Group of 23’ leaders, also got into action and wrote to Sonia Gandhi demanding an immediate meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to discuss the current state of affairs in the organisation.
Sources said Azad, a former leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, sought internal discussions in the wake of exodus of its leaders.
On the radar of the G23 leaders is the former party president Rahul Gandhi, who along with Priyanka, played a key role in selecting Sidhu over Amarinder.
Amarinder, who had to quit as Punjab CM due to Sidhu’s sustained campaign against him, has already called the Gandhi siblings as “inexperinced.”
Congress workers protest outside Sibal’s house
Kapil Sibal’s remarks evoked strong reactions from the Congress workers who protested outside his house.
Carrying ‘Get Well Soon Kapil Sibal’ placards and raising slogans against Sibal, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) workers said they were “hurt” by his remarks.
The protesters raised slogans against Sibal asking him to “leave the party”.
Several leaders also hit out at Sibal for what they said was questioning the leadership from which he had earlier “benefitted”.
Youth Congress chief Srinivas B V said on Twitter, “Listen ‘Ji-Huzoor’ :- The ‘President’ and ‘Leadership’ of the party are the same, who always ensured your entry in Parliament, made you a ‘minister’ during the good times of the party, when in opposition, ensured your entry into Rajya Sabha, always rewarded with responsibilities in good and bad times. And when the ‘time’ came for struggle, then…”
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken and Chhattisgarh minister T S Singhdeo hit out at Sibal for his remarks.
Maken alleged that leaders like Sibal are demoralising the party cadres who have stood by the Congress ideology.
He said it was Sonia Gandhi, the current Congress president, who made him a union minister though he did not have any organisational background and experience.
“My appeal to Mr Sibal and others like him is that they should not denigrate the organisation which has given them political identity by rushing to the media every then and now,” Maken said.
“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.
Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba also slammed Sibal, alleging that she kept requesting him in the 2020 assembly elections to come to Chandni Chowk and campaign but he did not come.
“The workers whom Sibal called for a meeting at his home ahead of the polls, they joined Aam Aadmi Party the next day…. Will the Congress run on these people’s strength?” Lamba said on Twitter.
With Sidhu in no mood to relent and the crisis in Punjab not ending any time soon, the Congress leadership will continue to face difficult questions from not just the opposition but also from the disgruntled leaders within.
And with the possibility of ousted Punjab CM Amarinder joining the BJP, especially after his meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah, the Congress crisis managers have a tough job at hand.
(With inputs from agencies)

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