New Delhi/Lucknow: Senior leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said he had quit the Congress on 16 May as he filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha as an Independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party (SP).
“I was a Congress leader but no longer,” Sibal said while filing his nomination in Lucknow in the presence of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. “We are all coming together for 2024,” he added.
Sibal has not officially confirmed joining the SP and, at present, remains without any party affiliation.
Reacting to Sibal’s announcement, the Congress hoped he “finds peace in his new party”.
‘We will expose the central government’
Speaking to reporters in Lucknow, Sibal thanked Akhilesh Yadav for backing his Rajya Sabha nomination.
“We will expose the central government. We will all, together, keep everything before the public,” he said.
“See, we want to form an alliance while staying in opposition and after making an alliance, we would oppose the Modi government. We want that in 2024 (Lok Sabha polls), an atmosphere is created in Hindustan where the flaws of the Modi government are brought before the public. And we will make an effort for that. I myself will make an effort for that,” he stated.
Sibal, a member of the dissident G-23 group in the Congress, had a public falling out with the leadership after the results of the recent assembly elections in five states. In an interview after the results, Sibal had said that the Gandhis “should step aside” from the leadership of the party.
After Sibal’s statement, the rest of the G-23 group distanced themselves from him though they held negotiations with the party leadership to push for certain organisational changes.
Speaking to ThePrint, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, in a brief response, said: “All the best to him. I hope he finds peace in his new party.”
ThePrint has learnt from sources in the party that Sibal did not renew his membership in the Congress’ recently-concluded membership drive that ended on 15 May. He said he quit the party on 16 May.
No confirmation on joining SP
While Sibal’s nomination triggered speculations that he has joined the Akhilesh-Yadav led party, he did not answer the question.
When asked if he was supported by SP, the former Congressman, without directly naming any party, said: “All have supported me, the party that is here in entire Uttar Pradesh…it has supported me.”
“See my voice used to find resonance in Rajya Sabha. …last time too I was a candidate from UP, you would know…that time too, I raised my voice and in the next six years too, I will raise my voice,” he said.
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