The group is headed by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad (File photo)
The Congress on Saturday said that the leaders included in the ‘Group of 23’ are respected members of the party, which the party is proud of. However, the party advised these leaders to make their best contribution to the electoral states and demonstrate their allegiance to it by strengthening the party by campaigning there. This suggestion of the Congress has come in response to the remarks made by some members of the ‘Group of 23’ (Group of twenty-three leaders) who went to address a non-political program in Jammu. The group is headed by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. The group wrote a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi, demanding a radical change in the party organization and internal elections for all posts in Congress.
Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here, « Those who have gone to Jammu to address the rally, who have given speeches, are very respected and respected people. » The Congress respects them all very much and we are proud that their very long life (time) has been spent in the Congress Party. They are all an integral part of our Congress family. « However, he said, » I think the Congress party understands that when elections are going on in five states (Vidhan Sabha) in which the Congress is struggling then it is more appropriate. It would have been that all the leaders including Azad would have campaigned in these provinces and strengthened the hands of the Congress and would have pushed the party forward.
« The truth is that we are seeing the party weakening »: disgruntled Congress leaders in Jammu
He said, « The true allegiance would have been to the Congress only if (all of them) strengthened the party by campaigning in the electoral states. » Asked about a leader’s comment about the « use » of Azad. But Singhvi said that this veteran leader of the party never complained about this. He said that those who are making such remarks are probably not aware of the synchronous and long history of the party. He said Azad has been a Union Minister since the time of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and has represented the Congress seven times in Parliament for more than 40 years, including his five terms in the Rajya Sabha.
Singhvi said that Azad was made the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and also kept the party general secretary for 20-25 years. However, Singhvi refused to answer further questions on the issue of internal discipline of the party. Significantly, Congress leaders have publicly criticized the party for the first time. Leaders of the ‘Group of 23’, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal, gathered on a platform in Jammu on Saturday, expressing dissatisfaction in public. He said that the party is getting weaker and they have come together to strengthen it. He was one of the senior leaders in the Congress seeking leadership change and organizational reshuffle.
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Sibal while addressing a program dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi said, « This is an opportunity to tell the truth and I will speak the truth. » Why are we gathered here? The truth is that we can see that the Congress is getting weaker. We had gathered earlier and we have to strengthen the Congress together. « In this program groups like Bhupendra Singh Hooda, Manish Tiwari, Vivek Tankha and Raj Babbar of the group (now also known as ‘G-23’) Many other Congress leaders also joined. These leaders wrote a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last year and demanded a full-time party president, along with making organizational changes in the party.
Video: Sibal asked the question, why does the Congress not take advantage of Ghulam Nabi Azad’s experience
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