Kapil Sibal withdraws statement after Rahul Gandhi calls him

It was preceded by a bit of friction between Sibal and the Congress chief spokesperson Randip Surjewala, who rejected allegations that Rahul Gandhi accused some seniors of “colluding” with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the high-voltage CWC discussions.
In this Aug. 15, 2013 file photo, senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad during the 67th Independence Day celebration in New Delhi.(PTI)
In this Aug. 15, 2013 file photo, senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad during the 67th Independence Day celebration in New Delhi.(PTI)
Updated on Aug 25, 2020 05:39 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySaubhadra Chatterji and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

The intense drama in the virtual Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday spilled over into the public domain when, reacting to a tweet by Congress veteran Kapil Sibal, former party president Rahul Gandhi called him personally to deny remarks attributed to him.

It was preceded by a bit of friction between Sibal and the Congress chief spokesperson Randip Surjewala, who rejected allegations that Rahul Gandhi accused some seniors of “colluding” with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the high-voltage CWC discussions.

According to party functionaries, minutes after Sibal’s tweet, Rahul Gandhi came to know of it. And soon after, Sibal received a call from Gandhi’s key aide, Kanishka Singh. According to people close to Sibal, he conveyed his anguish to Singh, and soon after, Gandhi left the CWC meeting to call Sibal and categorically told him that he made no such comments.

“Sh. Rahul Gandhi hasn’t said a word of this nature nor alluded to it. Pl. don’t be misled by false media discourse or misinformation being spread,” Surjewala replied to Sibal on the microblogging site even when the meeting of the top executive body was underway.

Sibal quickly withdrew his online statement. “Was informed by Rahul Gandhi personally that he never said what was attributed to him. I therefore withdraw my tweet,” he announced on Twitter.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad clarified later in the day that Rahul Gandhi never stated those who wrote the letter were colluding with or doing so at the behest of the BJP.

“Rahul Gandhi at no point of time inside the Congress Working Committee (CWC) or outside it has said that the signatories to the letter were doing it at the behest of the BJP. This is a totally wrong thing which has been attributed to Rahul Gandhi,” Azad told HT.

In his tweet earlier in the day, Sibal, listed his acts of loyalty to underline that in his 30 years in the Congress, he had never made a statement in favour of the BJP on any issue.

He pointed out how he “Succeeded in Rajasthan High Court defending the Congress Party”, and he is “Defending party in Manipur to bring down BJP Govt”.

In his own tweet, Surjewala also urged Sibal to fight together with party colleagues against the BJP. “...we all need to work together in fighting the draconian [Narendra] Modi rule rather than fighting & hurting each other & the Congress,” Surjewala wrote.

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