Congress G-23 hold meet in Jammu, discuss Gandhian philosophy, honour Ghulam Nabi Azad
The group of 23 Congress leaders, who had expressed dissent with the functioning of the party and even wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi, held an event in Jammu on Saturday to launch a nationwide campaign to "save the idea of India".
Former Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23, has invited his colleagues for The Gandhi Global Family event. Apart from Azad, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Hooda and Raj Babbar are also present.
The event has been organised days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's "North-South" remark, which has led to a controversy.
"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 while addressing the event.
Other leaders said they want to strengthen the Congress party. "People say we are a part of G-23; for me, it's Gandhi 23. With the belief, resolve and thinking of Mahatma Gandhi, this nation's law and Constitution was formed. Congress is standing strongly to take these forward. 'G-23' want Congress to be strong," said Raj Babbar.
He then lauded the work doen by Azad in all his years as parliamentarian. "Azadji was recently given farewell from Parliament, even the prime minister wept. He also didn't get angry by allegations made by (BJP leader) Rajmata Scindia and said 'I take these allegations seriously and a panel be formed and headed by Vajpayee and will accept their decision'. This is Gandhian ideology," said Babbar.
"Vajpayeeji then met Azad and apologised in Parliament. This is Gandhian philosophy," he added.
The ostensible trigger for the public meetings is to honour Azad, a Congress veteran who recently retired from Parliament after four decades.
According to one of the person aware of the details of the event, said that this meeting is a message to the Congress high command. “We want to tell the party leadership that we are united, we have an issue and they must do something about it," he added on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Azad, who reached Jammu on Friday, said that the Congress party will contest the coming assembly elections in four states and a union territory with its full might.