Other States

G-23 leaders’ ‘show of strength’ in Jammu on February 27

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal. File  

Barely two months after Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s reachout to the group of dissenters (G-23), they will have a show of strength in Jammu over the weekend.

Sources confirmed to The Hindu that senior leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma, have reached Jammu for a public programme on Saturday.

Other leaders such as Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha and Raj Babbar are expected to join it.

Officially, they will take part in a public programme organised by the Gandhi Global Family foundation, a non-government organisation that has Mr. Azad as the president.

But the optics of the key members of G-23 gathered in one place is meant to convey a not-so-subtle message that the party’s internal problems are far from over.

On February 14, The Hindu reported that there was a growing sense of unease among G-23 over the recent decisions, including not offering a fresh Rajya Sabha term for Mr. Azad as well as bypassing Mr. Sharma, currently the Deputy Leader in the Upper House, for the post as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP).

A member of G-23 said they wanted to convey “a sense of solidarity” when the people of Jammu welcomed Mr. Azad after his retirement from the Upper House.

The development also comes just days after former party chief Rahul Gandhi’s recent comments in Kerala that while people in North India did politics over superficial things, politics in South India was over “issues”. Soon after the comment, Mr. Sharma and Mr. Azad are learnt to have met discuss the “fallout” of the comment.

Revamp demand

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior member of G-23 said they stood firm on their demand of revamping the party and make it a more representative at all levels: from the block and district level to the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body, and the Central Election Committee, the panel that chooses party candidates for Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

In August last, the 23 leaders had written about revamping the party and pointed to the “sense of drift” in the party post the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“We are committed to the Congress ideology and we have spent most parts of our lives in the party. But we are equally committed to the issues we raised in the letter,” a key member of G-23 said.

These leaders didn’t blame Mr. Gandhi in the letter for the state of the affairs in the party but many privately argued that either he should make way for a non-Gandhi family member to take over as party chief or take charge again.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 9:57:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/g-23-leaders-show-of-strength-in-jammu-today/article33943756.ece

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