Congress 'getting weak', but not utilising experience of senior leader Azad: Sibal
Jammu: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday said here the party was "getting weak", but was not utilising the vast political experience of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who recently retired from Rajya Sabha.
Sibal was among several party leaders including Manish Tewari, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar and Anand Sharma who joined Azad at a function organised by the Gandhi Global family in a show of strength by the 'G-23' faction of the party.
These leaders were among the 23 Congress members who had recently written to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational overhaul.
"We feel the Congress is getting weak and time has come to rejuvenate the party to make it regain its lost glory," Sibal said in his address to the function.
"Why we came together here?" Sibal questioned to answer, "The truth is that we are feeling the Congress is getting weak. And therefore we came together, like in the past, to work for strengthening the party." Taking a pledge from the podium, he said there are many leaders who were not present at the function who support them, and "we will sacrifice whatever is necessary to make the nation and the party strong." "We want the Congress to be strengthened in every district of the country. We do not want the Congress to be weak as, if the Congress is weak, the nation is weak, he said.
Amidst the controversy over the gathering of a group of dissenters in Jammu, the Congress tried to water down the controversy by saying that the leaders are highly "respected" in the party but they should have done more to "strengthen" the party in the poll-bound states instead of gathering in non-poll-bound state.
Playing down the issue, Singhvi said, "Each of the persons who are in Jammu are well regarded in the party. We are proud to have them in our party and I believe they are equally proud to be members of the Congress Party therefore they are part of this Congress family and therefore whatever I say is with the greatest respect to the leaders."
"I respect the traditional legacy between Congress and them over these last three-four decades. The principal person in whose honour this (Jammu) rally was organised, nobody has used the word "istemal" (use) in relation to Azad, he has never complained. Those who use the word "istemal" betray certain things, lack of knowledge and ignorance about the contemporary history of the Congress and about the older history of the party," Singhvi said.
"We are proud and he is proud that he has held the Congress flag for more than seven terms in Parliament, five in Rajya Sabha and two in Lok Sabha, which is roughly 40 years. Congress President Sonia Gandhi nominated him as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir," he added.