Sibal dumps Congress, will Azad follow suit
New Delhi, May 25: In a major setback for the Congress party, Kapil Sibal a veteran Congress leader and a key member of the Group of 23 (G-23), which demanded an overhaul of the grand-old party announced his resignation claiming that he wants "to be an independent voice" in the Rajya Sabha.
Sibal's exit will keep the party worried as it desperately tries to put its house in order in its bid to stop the BJP juggernaut in the coming elections. In recent times, the Congress party has seen several party heavyweights resign citing party leadership.
Notably, his resignation comes close on the heels of Sunil Jakhar, Hardik Patel, Ashwani Kumar, RPN Singh, and Amarinder Singh resigning from Congress.
Now, all eyes would be on the G-23 grouping is "not Jee Huzur 23", especially on Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is a prominent member of the group.
The G-23 grouping has been critical of the party leadership and has been demanding organisational overhaul after they wrote a joint letter to Sonia Gandhi in 2020.
When Ghulam Nabi Azad was conferred Padma Bhushan by NDA govt
Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad are among the key leaders of Congress's G-23 group that wanted leadership and organisational rejig within the Congress following Lok Sabha and state polls debacle.
They were firm on their demand, with leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kabil Sibal, defying the party's stand on several occasions.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Azad has been awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to public affairs by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. The move had raised many eyebrows.
Sibal, also a part of the G-23, tweeted, "Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam Bhushan. Congratulations bhaijan."
"Ironic that Congress doesn't need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life," he said.
PM Modi bids emotional Goodbye to 'True Friend' Ghulam Nabi Azad in RS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi bis an emotional goodbye to Ghulam Nabi Azad, who retired last year, saying whoever replaces him will have difficulty living up to his work.
Sharing details of their communication during a terrorist attack on some Gujarati pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said Azad was the first one to call him about the incident.
With tears rolling down his cheeks, Modi said that Azad cried on the call while informing him about the horrific attack."
Azad was the first person to call me. During that call he could not stop crying," Modi said with a choked voice as tears rolled down his eyes.
Azad later went to the airport when the bodies were sent back and kept in touch till the plane landed in Gujarat, Modi said.
"Power comes and goes but (only a few know) how to digest it...therefore like a friend, I respect him on the basis of the things he has done over these years," Modi said while wiping his tears and saluting Azad.
Modi said he believes that Azad's concern for his country won't let him sit and whatever responsibilities he takes in the future would be beneficial for the nation.
"At a personal level, I would request him to not believe that he is not in the House. My door is always open for all of you. I will always expect and value your inputs," he said.
"I will not let you become weak," the prime minister told Azad as he closed his comments.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad hails PM
At a public event in Jammu, Azad, who hails from a village in Jammu and Kashmir and served three years as Chief Minister, drew parallels between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he has not forgotten his roots and proudly calls himself a "chaiwala" as well as he does not hide his true self.
Ghulam Nabi said, "I like a lot of things about many leaders. I am from the village and feel proud... Even our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) hails from the village and used to sell tea. We are political rivals but I appreciate that he does not hide his true self."
Azad, a Gandhi family loyalist, who held key positions in the party and Congress-led governments, both at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been unhappy with the party leadership.
The party neglected Azad in Congress's J&K unit affairs and even dropped him from several key party positions. However, the party on its course correction, included Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, in the political affairs group. But no G23 leaders have found a place in the Task Force.
After Sibal's exit, all eyes would be on Gulam Nabi Azad and we will have to wait and watch whether the veteran Congress leader will stay with the party or follow suit.