Last week, the G-23 leaders publicly claimed that the Congress party “is weakening” and that they have come together to strengthen it.
Sibal said at an event in Jammu on February 28: “The truth is we can see that the Congress is weakening. We had gathered earlier also and together we have to strengthen the Congress.”
He said the party needs to be strengthened. “We promise those who are sitting here and many more who are outside and support us, that we will work to strengthen the party. We want Congress to be strengthened in every district of the country. We do not want Congress to be weak because if Congress is weak, the nation will be weak. We will sacrifice whatever necessary to make the nation and the party strong.”
Echoing Sibal’s sentiments, G-23 leader Anand Sharma agreed that the party has weakened in the past 10 years.
“All of us have covered a very long distance to reach where we are today … I have not given anyone the right to tell me if we are Congressmen or not. Nobody has that right. We will build the party. We will strengthen it. When Congress is united, it will also raise the morale of the people of the country,” he said.
However, Sourish Ghosh, political expert and academician associated with the Jadavpur University, believes the impact of the G-23 will fizzle out and do little to sway sentiments of those voters who continue to exhibit unflinching faith in Congress.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Ghosh said: “Do the G-23 leaders really want complete democracy within the party? Do they really want elections? When Rahul [Gandhi] introduced elections in the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Youth Congress -- people were reluctant about the reforms. Why? Because of the very class character of the party.”
“The question is, do they really want elections? Congress cannot exist without the Gandhis. Who will come if the Gandhis go? Does Congress have a second-generation leader? Congress functions on the idea of the Gandhi family – it is the very nucleus of the party’s existence,” he said.
A host of seasoned party leaders such as Dr. Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, AK Antony, Jairam Ramesh, Digvijaya Singh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Salman Khurshid and Navjot Singh Sidhu, among others, have maintained almost radio silence over the issue.
Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad (centre), Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Manish Tewari during the 'Shanti Sammelan' event in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, 2021. (Image: PTI)