A day after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot hit out at senior party leader Kapil Sibal for his remarks post Bihar Assembly results, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday took potshots at Sibal, saying the party did not see his face during the polls or by-elections across the country.
The war of words in the grand old party brings the focus back on the leadership question. Sibal was a part of the so-called G-23 leaders who in August wrote to the party leadership demanding urgent action for restructuring the Congress.
Chowdhury said that Sibal needs introspection. “Kapil Sibal spoke about this even earlier. He seems to be very concerned about the Congress party and the need for introspection. But we didn’t see his face in elections in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, or Gujarat,” ANI quoted Chowdhury as saying.
Asserting that mere talk will not achieve anything, the party leader said, “Had Kapil Sibal gone to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, he could have proved that what he is saying is correct and that he strengthened the position of Congress. Mere talk will achieve nothing. Speaking without doing anything doesn’t mean introspection.”
Sibal, in an interview, had said people no longer saw the party as an “effective alternative” and said the leadership was not addressing the issue. The Congress, he said, knows the problems it is facing as well as the answers, but was not willing to recognise them.
On Tuesday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot hit out at Sibal for airing his views in public, while some leaders like MPs Vivek Tankha and Karti Chidambaram reiterated what Sibal said.
In a series of tweets, Gehlot said there was “no need” for Sibal to mention “internal issues” in the media. He said after every electoral loss, the Congress had shown “undivided and firm belief in the party leadership” and had emerged stronger from each crisis.
Hitting out at Sibal, Gehlot had tweeted, “There was no need for Kapil Sibal to (have) mentioned our internal issue in the media. This has hurt the sentiments of party workers across the country. 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.”
On the other hand, Tankha, a Rajya Sabha MP and the head of the Congress’s legal department, supported Sibal’s stand. He said, “We can’t see the party sliding. We are not able to see it sliding. Others may not speak because they have their own issues. I and Kapil have no other issues. Our issue is the revival of the Congress. And if people like us don’t come forward and speak about it, history will not forgive us.”