Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government of working against citizens’ interest, Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal on Saturday announced that he would launch a political platform, Insaaf, to fight against injustice and to create a people’s movement against the BJP.
Though the former Union Minister stopped short of calling it a platform to bring non-BJP, non-Congress parties together, he urged Opposition leaders, including Chief Ministers, to support his endeavour that he will formally launch on March 11.
Mr. Sibal said he would hold a public meeting of the new platform at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on March 11 and put forward a new vision for India there.
“Will give a new vision of India, a positive agenda. Main koi Modi-ji ko criticise nahi karne baitha, main unko sudhaar doonga [I am not here to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi but will reform him],” he told reporters at a press conference, adding that it was an open invitation for everyone, including opposition leaders and common people, to join him.
The former Congress leader, who is now an independent Rajya Sabha member, said injustice was being done to citizens, institutions, journalists, teachers, medium and small businesses and opposition leaders.
“We have started a website ‘Insaaf ke Sipahi’, where anyone can register. This will be a national-level platform where lawyers will be at the forefront,” Mr. Sibal said, adding, “It is with great deliberation that I have decided that people need to be awakened and asked to become our ‘Insaaf ke Sipahi’, and wherever injustice is happening, they should fight it. I want all opposition Chief Ministers and leaders to support me in this endeavour and we start a national movement to free ourselves from this slavery.”
Mounting a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government, Mr. Sibal said the ED is the “government’s Valentine”. He said the ED had acted against 121 people in recent times and 115 of them were Opposition leaders. Accusing the government of misusing the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, he said the anti-defection law had now become a “defector’s paradise”.
“After 2014, they [the BJP] have toppled eight governments, be it in Meghalaya, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh or Maharashtra. Tell me if there is any other country where elected governments are toppled through inducements and buying of legislators. Courts, lawyers and people are silent. This is political injustice,” Mr. Sibal alleged.
The former Congress leader’s initiative comes at a time when cracks are appearing in the opposition ranks. Following the results of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura Assembly polls, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) announced that it would contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls alone.
Telangana Chief Minister and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, and his Delhi counterpart and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, have been talking about a third non-BJP, non-Congress front and have reached out to leaders like the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sharad Pawar, and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav.
There is also speculation that opposition Chief Ministers of non-Congress, non-BJP States may meet later this month to chalk out their future course.
The Congress, at its 85th plenary session, announced that it was ready to work with like-minded parties but pitched itself as the alternative that can provide “alternative and decisive leadership”.
Asked about Mr. Sibal’s initiatives, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, without getting into the specifics, asserted that “there was no doubt several Opposition parties would be working together in the run-up to the 2024 elections”.