New Delhi: Amid a continued crisis in Punjab, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal Wednesday called for a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision making body, on behalf of the ‘G-23’ as he cautioned that the situation will be an “advantage to Pakistan and ISI” given Punjab’s history of violence and insurgency.
“What’s happening in Punjab … it is an advantage to ISI and Pakistan. Punjab is just 300 km from Pakistan. We know the situation that has transpired in the state with the rise of extremism. We know they (Pakistan) will exploit the situation to create uncertainty,” the senior leader told the media, adding that a member of the G-23 has written to Gandhi requesting a CWC meeting to discuss the pressing matters.
The G-23 refers to the group of 23 Congress leaders who in August 2020 had written to interim party president Sonia Gandhi expressing their dissatisfaction with the party’s functioning. They demanded a full time and effective leadership, and also elections to the CWC and the post of president — an action that was considered mutinous by some in the party.
Sibal said various issues also need to be discussed, including a spate of exits from the party and the lack of an elected president, emphasising the need for the Congress to make sure everyone is united to keep the situation stable.
“I am speaking to you on behalf of those Congressmen who wrote the letter in August last year and we are waiting for actions to be taken by our leadership in respect of the election of the office of the president, to CWC & central election committee,” Sibal said.
“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.”
Sibal added he is a member of the G-23, “not Ji Huzoor 23″.
“One thing is clear, we are not Ji Huzoor (Yes, your lordship) 23. We will say what we have to, and keep reiterating it.”
‘Ironic those close to leadership are leaving’
Taking a jibe at how leaders keep quitting the party, particularly those considered close to the leadership, Sibal said, “Why are people leaving? Maybe we should see whether it is our fault? We have to immediately call a CWC so a dialogue can take place.”
“We are not one of those who will leave the party and go somewhere else. In fact, it is ironic that those who were close to the leadership have left them, and those who aren’t considered close to them are still standing by them.”
In the past year, leaders such as Jyotriaditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada, who were considered significant for their contributions to the party, quit to join the BJP. Last month, Sushmita Dev joined the TMC. All three were considered close to the Congress leadership.
Sibal said that a strong Congress party is required for a strong democracy.
“Important matters are meant to be discussed in the parliament. These can only be discussed if the opposition is strong and for that the Congress needs to be strengthened.
“If Congress isn’t weakened, it will be a loss for the country. If Congress is strengthened, it will mean the strengthening of India’s democracy,” he said.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)