Several leaders of the G-23 group, who had written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi demanding major revamp in the party and highlighted the lack of leadership, on Monday lashed out at senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge over his remarks on them. The Indian Express quoted sources saying that some of the G-23 leaders might take up the matter with the party president.
Speaking at The Indian Express’ Idea Exchange Session, Kharge had suggested G-23 leaders had been missing during the COVID-19 pandemic and that they should not “destroy” the party “that had given them so much”.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who recently hosted a dinner with Opposition leaders along G-23 group members, said that in politics you must “think before you leap and reflect before you speak”.
“When a leader of some standing says that those who have got everything from the party must not think of destroying the party, he forgets he is referring to those who have given everything to the party, including some of us who have contributed in building the party while others left it during Mrs Gandhi’s time,” Sibal told The Indian Express.
“All of us are united in our consistent wish to strengthen the party and make it more effective in the national struggle to save India’s soul. We are agents of constructive change, not obstacles who are loathe to move without a push,” he added.
Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor called Kharge’s remarks “unfortunate”. “Colleagues must respect each other’s bona fides. I have great respect for Mr Kharge and hope he appreciates that we are all equally committed to strengthening the party in the broader national struggle against the BJP.”
Asked about the dinner hosted by Sibal, and about issues raised by G23 leaders, Kharge, Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, had said at the Idea Exchange, “It was a dinner for Kapil Sibal’s birthday and they would have discussed what they had to. I was not there, so I can’t give you an account of it. But if we discuss our party’s issues before people who we are fighting with in Punjab, does it strengthen our party?… It was a personal event. But people who have got everything from the party must not think of destroying the party.”