The resignation of Sushmita Dev, the face of Congress in Assam’s Barak Valley, has provoked veteran Congress leader Kapil Sibal to publicly slam the party’s leadership on social media.
Sibal, who is part of the G-23 group of leaders who are strongly pushing for revolutionary changes in the organisation, including a leadership change in the grand old party, made a caustic observation via a Twitter post by stating, “The party moves on with Eyes Wide Shut”.
Further, Sibal, a former Union Minister lamented the fact that after the resignation of young people like Dev, ‘oldies’ were being blamed for their efforts to strengthen it. “The Party moves on with : Eyes Wide Shut”.
Resigns from primary membership of our Party
While young leaders leave we ‘oldies’ are blamed for our efforts to strengthen it
The Party moves on with :
Eyes Wide Shut
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) August 16, 2021
NDTV reported that Sushmita Dev, the daughter of party stalwart Santosh Mohan Dev, and president of All India Mahila Congress, had quit on Sunday (August 15) and will join the Trinamool Congress. After she resigned from the party in which she had been a member for more than three decades, she left the Congress’ WhatsApp group and changed her Twitter bio to former leader of the Congress.
Also read: Cong leader Sushmita Dev quits party
Earlier, Dev had been in the news when she had supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), a stance which was diametrically opposite to that of the Congress party.
Dev had argued that the people of the Barak Valley were in favour of CAA since they had witnessed the struggle of the victims of partition, said a News18 report. CAA would ensure citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus, she had said at that time.
Dev was also recently in the public eye when her Twitter account was suspended for violating the social media platform’s policy. Her suspension came after Twitter had blocked former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for posting a photograph of the parents of a nine-year-old rape victim in Delhi. As a form of solidarity, Dev and several other prominent Congress leaders too changed their display picture to Gandhi’s and had shared the same photograph.
Her resignation however was a “perfunctory note” thanking Sonia Gandhi for guiding her and giving her enriching opportunities which she valued. The letter offered no explanation for her resignation. This drew the ire of another Congress leader, Manish Tewari. Calling it most unfortunate, he questioned her reasons for quitting and said that they deserved a “better explanation than this laconic letter”.
This public criticism of the Congress party leadership comes days after Sibal’s birthday dinner where the question of leadership change and rejuvenating the party had surfaced. Questions on whether Congress was capable of leading a combined opposition against the BJP in 2024 and the stalemate concerning the issue of leadership change were discussed.
The general consensus among the Opposition parties was that the Congress party needed an overhaul and this was only possible if the party was “freed from the clutches of the Gandhis’ leadership”, said the NDTV report quoting sources. Significantly, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were not present at this dinner.
Sibal and Manish Tewari are part of the group of dissenters who had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi voicing their distress over the party’s performance in elections and its general slide after it had lost power in 2014. The leaders had demanded an overhaul and revolutionary changes in the organisation to stem the rot.
They had also urged Gandhi to bring in an “active, visible leadership” and conduct internal elections. Though the Gandhis had assured them that changes would be implemented, internal elections were being deferred each time. The G-23 group is increasingly getting frustrated as the Congress party seem to be progressively sliding further after every election.