Amid Row Over Sibal’s Remark on Polls, Congress Body to Meet Today

Referring to the party’s poor show in recent elections, Sibal had said that “in a sorry state of affairs.”

3 min read
Amid Row Over Sibal’s Remark on Polls, Congress Body to Meet Today

Amid much consternation over the Indian National Congress’ dismal show in Bihar and other bypolls across the country, a special committee formed to aid Party President Sonia Gandhi is expected to meet at 5 pm this evening, reports NDTV.

The meeting, which will be held over video conferencing, will be attended by members of the committee, which includes Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, AK Antony, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala.

The parley, however, comes after Congress stalwart and Senior Supreme Court Lawyer Kapil Sibal’s remark that the party is “in a sorry state of affairs” and doesn’t want to “recognise the answers” to problems plaguing it set the cat among the pigeons in the grand old party.

What did Sibal say?

In an interview to The Indian Express, Sibal had said that polls in Bihar and the bypolls elsewhere have demonstrated that the people of this country do not consider the Congress as an alternative.

He pointed out how some of the candidates in the Uttar Pradesh by-polls had noted “less that 2 percent of the votes cast, while three candidates in Gujarat lost their deposits.” Sibal said that the problem will not be addressed unless the Congress Working Committee, which is a nominated body, adopts a democratic process.

“First we have to have a conversation; with experienced minds, experienced hands, with people who understand the political realities of India, people who know what and how to articulate in the media, people who know how to get people to listen to them”
Kapil Sibal 

How did Gehlot and Khurshid react?

In a series of tweets, Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that “there was no need” for Sibal to have mentioned “internal issues” of the party to the media and by doing so, the latter had “hurt the sentiments of party workers.”

Gehlot further heaped praise on the Congress, saying how even after electoral losses, the party’s rank and file had shown ‘undivided and firm belief’ in the leadership and this is what kept the grand old party glued together.

Another Congress leader Salman Khurshid, in a long Facebook post, said that if people are explicitly trying to capture power by compromising the very ideals and principles they originally espoused, then “ we might as well pack up our bags.”


Did no one support Sibal?

Backing Sibal, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha said that the Congress needs to survive for democracy’s sake and that it’s “time to act now or tomorrow may be too late.”

“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.”
Vivek Tankha, Congress MP

Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, said “it’s time we introspect, ideate, consult and act.”

What happened in Bihar elections?

In the recently-concluded Bihar elections, Congress could only win 19 out of the 70 seats it contested, as opposed to other alliance partners like RJD which won 75 seats and left parties, which won 16 seats.

Following results, RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari had said that the Congress paid little attention to campaigning as senior leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi didn’t appear for poll campaigns.

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