Jammu: Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Raj Babbar during a 'Shanti Sammelan' event in Jammu on Saturday.(PTI)
Jammu: Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Raj Babbar during a 'Shanti Sammelan' event in Jammu on Saturday.(PTI)

Congress getting weak, says Kapil Sibal at G-23 meet in Jammu

  • Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the party needed the services of Ghulam Nabi Azad who recently retired from the Rajya Sabha, to strengthen it.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:00 PM IST

Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Saturday that the party is "getting weak" and that it needed the services of Ghulam Nabi Azad who recently retired from the Rajya Sabha to strengthen it.

At a public event in Jammu, Sibal, who shared a stage with other members of G-23 - senior leaders who had written an open letter to party president Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping changes in the Congress, said there is an urgent need to boost the party.

“This is an occasion and podium to speak truth and the truth is that Congress is getting weak and therefore we have assembled here to make it strong together,” Sibal said.

He went to say that Azad is indispensable for the revival of the Congress.

“Now, what is the real role of Ghulam Nabi Azad… we need an experienced pilot to fly a plane and an engineer to fix any technical snag. Azad is an experienced pilot and an engineer too. Why am I saying this because he knows the reality of the Congress in every state and district. And, when we realized that Azad is being freed from Parliament we felt sad. We never wanted him to be freed from Parliament”.

“He knows all the leaders personally. All the leaders used to meet at his residence. It can only be done by an experienced leader. I fail to understand why Congress is not using his experience.”

Sibal said that they want the party to be strengthened in every state and every village because if the Congress weakens then the country will be weakened too.

The Congress leader also took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “Today the problem India confronts that she has a rajneta (leader) whose sole ambition is to empower his party and not the people of the country.”

Manish Tiwari, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Hooda, Raj Babbar and Vivek Tankha were among others who attended the Shanti Sammelan.

Azad, who turned nostalgic in his speech as he traced his association with the Congress, also attacked the BJP government for dividing and the downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories on August 5, 2019.

“One and a half years ago we were dismembered... the state was shredded into pieces and today we are being divided in the name of religion and regions,” he said.

Azad said that world leaders from US, UK , Africa, Australia, China, Canada are more familiar with Kashmir than any other Indian state.

“Even the new US president Joe Biden talked about Kashmir.. so there is not a single leader who doesn’t know about Kashmir but today we have been reduced into a UT,” he said.

“But we will keep fighting for statehood in the Parliament and outside till we get it,” he asserted.

He also criticized the BJP government for imposing all sorts of taxes on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“While there are no jobs, development and unemployment is at its peak, the government has burdened the people with a slew of taxes,” he said.

Amid a euphoric audience, Azad said, “I have retired from Rajya Sabha but not from politics and I haven’t retired from the Parliament for the first time. I dive here and emerge there and I emerge here and dive there. So, there is no need to lose heart.”

Other Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari, Bhupinder Hooda, Raj Babbar and Vivek Tankha also addressed the rally.

Anand Sharma said that for the first time since the 1950s, Jammu and Kashmir does not have a representative in the Rajya Sabha but it will be “corrected” soon.

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