Kapil Sibal's criticism throws Congress into a turmoil

Kapil Sibal's criticism throws Congress into a turmoil

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot laid out the party line when he hit back at Sibal for going public with internal issues

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Credit: PTI

Knives are out for former Law Minister Kapil Sibal, who has questioned the party leadership and called for introspection after the Congress’ dismal performance in the recently concluded Bihar Assembly elections.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot laid out the party line when he hit back at Sibal for going public with internal issues, while a six-member panel formed to assist Congress president Sonia Gandhi went into a huddle to discuss the party’s campaign on the farm laws, the upcoming elections and the Bihar debacle.

Taking a cue from Gehlot, Congress leaders launched a broadside against Sibal, questioning his contribution in building the party organisation in his Chandni Chowk constituency after his loss in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

“Sibal should stop giving sermons sitting in AC offices. He should have proven his mettle in the campaign for the Bihar assembly elections or the bypolls in Madhya Pradesh,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha told DH.

Read: Sibal's remarks a loss to Congress, says Tariq Anwar

Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid described Sibal’s outburst as “periodic pangs of anxiety” that appears every time the Congress underperforms in elections.

“Our real redemption might be found in understanding the mind of the contemporary citizen. So the constant refrain of some persons should not be of aimless introspection but for reaffirmation of fundamental principles we believe in,” Khurshid said.

Barring Vivek Tankha, a lawyer-turned-Rajya Sabha member, not many of the group of 23 letter writers are standing with Sibal.

Soon after Gehlot’s remarks, Youth Congress president Srinivas B V and Delhi Congress president Anil Choudhary targeted Sibal.

“Congress has seen various crises including 1969, 1977, 1989 and later in 1996 – but every time we came out stronger due to our ideology, programmes, policies, and firm belief in party leadership,” Gehlot said.

Read more: Congress not the kind of force it used to be, says Kapil Sibal

“We have improved with each and every crisis and also formed the UPA government in 2004 under the able leadership of Sonia ji, we shall overcome this time too. There are various reasons for electoral losses. But each time the rank and file of the Congress party has shown undivided and firm belief in the party leadership and that is why we came out stronger and united after every crisis,” Gehlot said.

Srinivas hit out at Sibal saying that his questioning of the Congress leadership is akin to helping the BJP.