Kapil Sibal, senior leader and a prominent face of the G-23 group of Congress dissidents, on Wednesday, filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate with the Samajwadi Party’s support after announcing that he had quit the grand old party on May 16.
Sibal’s resignation is being seen as yet another setback to the Congress party after the recent resignations of Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel.
Sibal filed his nomination papers from Uttar Pradesh in the presence of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and other senior party leaders. The former Union minister is retiring from the Rajya Sabha on July 4.
Both Akhilesh Yadav and Sibal himself have made it clear that he has not joined the Samajwadi Party. “I had tendered my resignation from the Congress party on May 16,” Sibal said after filing the nomination.
“I have filed nomination as an independent candidate. I have always wanted to be an independent voice in the country. While staying in Opposition, we want to create an alliance so that we can oppose the Modi Government,” he said.
Sibal is likely to get elected to the Upper House as the SP has 111 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
Meanwhile, reacting to Sibal exit from the Congress, party General Secretary KC Venugopal said that “people come and go from our party” and did not blame anyone for the move.
“He had already written a letter to the party president. The letter says that he firmly believed in the values of Congress. He said nothing else. Let him state his position. Then I can say. The resignation letter is of a very high standard. People come and go from our party. This is a big party. Some may be leaving the party. May some going to other parties. I am not going to blame anybody who left the party. Congress has vast space,” said Venugopal.
He further said, “The party will be completely rebuilt. It intends to go with a comprehensive re-organisation. A lot of guidelines are going to come. Each person will have a task.”
“During this regime, the Central Government is using the CBI, intelligence and all other agencies to eliminate political opponents. They are working to eliminate other political parties by using vicious methods that have never been used by any government. It’s hard to survive. But we have confidence. Congress has the strength to overcome this. Congress also has leaders for that. There will be temporary setbacks here and there. We will study the problems. The party will be strengthened and taken forward brilliantly,” he said.
Notably, Sibal had been critical of Congress high command on various issues and has been demanding sweeping reforms in the party, including elections for the post of the Congress president. He had made “Ghar ki Congress” remark during an interview in which he had also said that he was not surprised by the results in five state elections and that the leadership should have worked out a plan for the party’s rejuvenation.
Sibal is known to have close ties with the Yadav family as a senior advocate.