The Congress is turning "weak", said party veteran Kapil Sibal on February 27, during a public meeting in Jammu. Other members of party's "G-23" who shared the stage with Sibal also sent a tough message to the high-command.
The G-23 is an informal reference to the 23 senior Congress leaders who had marked their dissent over the party's functioning in a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi last year.
At the "Shanti Sammelan" called in Jammu, Sibal reiterated the need to "strengthen" the party.
"The truth is that we see Congress party getting weak. That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
The former Union minister also expressed disappointment over the Congress "not using the experience" of senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad - whose tenure in the Rajya Sabha ended earlier this month.
"He is one such leader who knows ground reality of Congress in every district of every state. We were saddened when we realised that he is being freed from Parliament. We didn't want him to go from Parliament... I can't understand why is Congress not using his experience," he said.
Former Congress MP Raj Babbar, who addressed the gathering before Sibal, said the G-23 group is committed to the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and has the sole agenda of strengthening the Congress.
"People say 'G-23', I say Gandhi 23. With the belief, resolve and thinking of Mahatma Gandhi, this nation's law and Constitution was formed. Congress is standing strongly to take these forward. 'G-23' wants Congress to be strong," he said.
Babbar, the former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, was also one of the signatories of the controversial letter written to Sonia Gandhi in August 2020. The letter called for "sweeping changes", including elections to appoint new functionaries from top to bottom.
Azad, at the Jammu convention, focused his address on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir under the Narendra Modi government."Be it Jammu or Kashmir or Ladakh, we respect all religions, people, and castes. We equally respect everyone, that is our strength and we will continue with this," Azad said, adding that the Congress has been persistently raising the questions over "unemployment, stripping off of statehood, finishing off industries and education in J&K over the past 5-6 years".