Day after his 73rd birthday, Sibal set to host Opposition leaders on Monday
Several Opposition leaders are set to gather at Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s house on Monday, a day after his 73rd birthday, with people aware of the developments saying that the gathering would serve as a platform for like-minded leaders to discuss uniting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Nationalist Congress Party leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, Samajwadi Pary chief Akhilesh Yadav, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK’s) Tiruchi Siva, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad are likely to make an appearance, a person aware of the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Among those likely to be present at the gathering are also several of the so-called “G-23” leaders, who wrote a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last year, asking for an overhaul in the party’s, including elections to all party posts.
“It’s just a personal dinner for my friends… There’s nothing more to it,” Sibal said when contacted by HT.
Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor, who has also been invited to the gathering, said: “As far as I understand, Kapil’s dinner is just a discussion among like-minded people from various parties about the best ways forward to defeat the BJP in 2024. It is in no way any sort of rebel movement in the party; instead, it seeks to strengthen the entire Opposition, including the Congress.”
A person who was among the signatories of the letter, however, said: “It’s been a year and there are many who feel that things have not moved.” “So we decided that we should take things beyond the Congress and also re-group,” the leader said, asking not to be named.
When contacted, a Congress spokesperson declined a formal comment. The spokesperson, however, said that the Congress viewed it as Sibal’s personal engagement which in no way impacted the political party. Many Congress leaders who are not signatories are also likely to attend.