Kapil Sibal on Wednesday, 25 May, said that he resigned from the Congress on 16 May.
The statement by Sibal came after he filed the nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate in the presence of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav.
Speaking to the media, Sibal said that "it is important to have an independent voice."
"While staying in Opposition, we want to create an alliance so that we can oppose the Modi government."Kapil Sibal, as quoted by ANI
Sibal's resignation follows his differences with the party leadership over several administrative issues. Sibal was also a part of the 'G-23' group of 'rebel' party leaders rallying for major administrative and leadership changes within the Congress.
In March, The Quint had reported how the Congress senior leadership and the Gandhis had reached out to all G-23 leaders except Kapil Sibal.
'Want To Form Alliance Against Modi Govt': What Sibal Said
Addressing the media after filing the nomination, Sibal said: "I have always wanted to be an independent voice in this country and I am glad that Akhilesh ji understands that. I think that we are all constrained by the fact that we are members of political parties and that is why we have to abide by the discipline of those parties. I think it is important to be an independent voice. When an independent voice is raised, people will understand that it is not associated with any party."
"We want to form an alliance of the Opposition so that we can oppose the Modi government. We want an environment in 2024 that will be able to portray the flaws on the Modi government," he said, adding that he has raised his voice for Uttar Pradesh in Parliament for several years and would continue to do so.
Thanking Yadav for the support, Sibal further said: "I also wish to convey my gratitude to Azam Khan for the support that he has given me not just now but through several years."
Later on Wednesday, the former Congress leader said, "No political party gives liberty to leaders which is the tragedy of Indian Parliament. There is no concept of a whip in any other parliament across the world. We may have a different point of view but we can't express them and are often confined while being in a party," news agency ANI reported.
"I still say that we all hold to the ideology of Congress which is the ideology of an inclusive India. This is the ideology of the entire opposition and we will move forward on the basis of that."
'Will Never Join Any Other Party': Sibal on Quitting Congress
Speaking to The Indian Express (IE) on his plans of joining the Samajwadi Party in the future, Sibal said that he had publicly said in the past that he would never join any other political party.
"So, consistent with my public position, I have done what I proclaimed. Of course, as an independent member, I hope to be an independent voice in the country," he said.
On being asked about his differences with the Congress, Sibal told IE that he did not wish to make adverse statements now that he had quit the party.
"Now that I am not in the Congress party, I do not wish to say anything adverse, anything that is inconsistent with the culture of politics that we must embrace. Within the Congress, I could say what I wanted to say. Now that I am not in the Congress I do not wish to criticise anybody in the Congress," he said.
Speaking on how difficult it was to leave the party, Sibal said it was "always difficult to move on, but everyone has to think about themselves" at some point, NDTV reported.
"I thought the time has come for me to move on and be an independent voice in parliament. I did not want to be hanging on to the coattails of any party," he added.
He also said that he was committed to the Congress' ideology. "It is always difficult when you are with a party for so long and wedded to its ideology. Every person has to think for himself, whether time for him to do something different."
Sibal further said that he would attempt to bring many political parties, including the Congress, on a common platform.
He also said that he told Yadav that he did not want to be a part of his party, and wanted to be an independent candidate instead.
"I thought it was time for me to move on and be an independent voice in parliament. I met Akhilesh Yadav and told him I want to be an independent candidate, not part of any party," Sibal added, as per NDTV.
'Hope Sibal Will Represent SP's Views': Akhilesh Yadav
Speaking to ANI, Akhilesh Yadav said that Sibal would go to Parliament with the party's support and expressed hope that he would represent the party's opinions in the House.
"Kapil Sibal is a senior lawyer. He has presented his opinions well in the Parliament. We hope he'll present opinions of both SP as well as himself," Yadav told ANI.
Sibal's exit comes as the Congress is currently believed to be in introspection mode and is holding several Chintan Shivirs across various states.
On May 24, the Congress also announced the formation of several committees for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which included G-23 members Mukul Wasnik and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
‘People Come and Go From Congress’: KC Venugopal
Reacting to Sibal's exit from Congress, party General Secretary KC Venugopal said that "people come and go from our party" and he will not blame anybody for their decision, as per ANI.
He said, "People come and go from our party. This is a big party. Some may be leaving the party. Maybe some are going to other parties. I am not going to blame anybody who left the party. Congress has a vast space."
Venugopal further stated that Congress will be completely rebuilt and reorganised.
He also accused the Centre of using Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other intelligence agencies to "eliminate other parties" and makes it hard for political opponents to survive in this regime.
He further added, "But we have confidence. The Congress has the strength to overcome this. The Congress also has leaders for that. There will be temporary setbacks here and there. We will study the problems. The party will be strengthened and taken forward brilliantly."
Ex-Congress Leader Jitin Prasada Takes a Shot at Sibal
Meanwhile, Sibal's former Congress colleague and current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jitin Prasada took a shot at the former over a tweet he had written when Prasada joined the BJP in June last year.
"How’s the "Prasad" Mr Sibal !" the BJP leader said in a tweet, attaching Sibal's tweet from last year in which he had said that ideology did not matter to Prasada, and hence he was comfortable switching over to the saffron party.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saugata Roy on the other hand said that he was "saddened" over Sibal's decision to leave the Congress.
"I am quite saddened over this action of Sibal. I am not happy with the news of Sibal switching his political camp. He is one of the leading legal brains of the country," Roy was quoted as saying by IANS.
He also added that Sibal is one of those leaders who had risen from the grassroots.
"He had enjoyed several key posts in Congress, including important Union ministerial chairs. Actually, he has risen from the grassroots and hence he just served his own interest," Roy added.
(With inputs from ANI, NDTV and Indian Express.)