Congress’ G-23 meets in Jammu

Our Bureau/Agencies New Delhi | Updated on February 27, 2021

Ghulam Nabi Azad   -  PTI

Asks high command to use experience of veterans

Ahead of the upcoming elections to five Assemblies, the dissenting 23 leaders in the Congress are in a mood to bargain with the party high command. They held a rally in Jammu on Saturday to maintain that their aim is to strengthen the Congress but the speeches of the leaders were filled with veiled remarks against Congress high command, particularly Rahul Gandhi. The leaders also expressed unhappiness over the party’s decision to deny a re-entry for Ghulam Nabi Azad to Rajya Sabha.

The Congress faces tough opposition in the five States and the elections are very crucial for the party. Azad was the main speaker at the event. He has retired from Parliament, but has not retired from politics. In an apparent counter to Rahul Gandhi’s comparison of politics in North and South of India, he said the strength of the Congress is that it respects people of all regions. “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.

Apart from Azad, the signatories of the “letter of dissent” to party president Sonia Gandhi were Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Senior leaders Kapil Sibal, Raj Babbar and Vivek Tankha were present in the event named as ‘Shanti Sammelan’. “These leaders are here because, in the last five-six years, all these friends did not speak any less than me in Parliament over issues of Jammu and Kashmir, its unemployment, stripping off of statehood, finishing off industries and education, and implementation of GST,” he said.

Sibal said that they can see that the Congress is getting weak. “That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together,” Sibal said. Sharma said their voice is for strengthening the party. “It should be strengthened everywhere once again. The new generation should connect to the people and the party. We have seen good days of Congress. We do not want to see it weakening as we become older,” he said.

Sibal said Azad 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 Congress is not using his experience,” he added.

Published on February 27, 2021

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