‘Dissident’ G-23 leaders call for “inclusive leadership” as Sonia meets senior party leaders
After an extremely horrifying and disappointing performance in recent Assembly elections, the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and party leadership met with the dissident G-23 group leaders. The G-23 leaders have stressed that “only way forward” for the party was to embrace a model of “collective and inclusive leadership and decision-making at all levels.”
On Wednesday, some of the G-23 leaders met at the residence of Ghulam Nabi Azad with three main new inclusions in the ‘dissident’ group. These were veteran leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, Lok Sabha MP and former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, and Gujarat leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, who had quit the Congress party in 2017. This also marked the release of first joint statement that has been signed by 18 leaders. The signatories include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Prithviraj Chavan, Manish Tewari, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Raj Babbar, Vaghela, Aiyar, Shashi Tharoor, P J Kurien, M A Khan, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Sandeep Dikshit, Kuldeep Sharma, Vivek Tankha and Preneet Kaur.
“We the… members of the Congress party met to deliberate on the demoralising outcome of the recent results of the Assembly elections and the constant exodus of both our workers and leaders. We believe that the only way forward is for the Congress party to adopt the model of collective and inclusive leadership and decision-making at all levels,” the statement said.
“In order to oppose the BJP, it is necessary to strengthen the Congress party. We demand the Congress party to initiate dialogue with other like-minded forces to create a platform to pave the way for a credible alternative for 2024,” the statement further added.
Meanwhile, party chief Sonia Gandhi has deputed five leaders who will assess the situation around poll performance and its aftermath and thereby suggest organizational changes. These leaders are Rajya Sabha MP Rajani Patil in Goa, Jairam Ramesh in Manipur, Ajay Maken in Punjab, Jitendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh and Avinash Pande in Uttarakhand.
At this move, a G-23 leader said the “meeting has unanimously deplored that those people who were responsible for scripting the defeat have been appointed to assess the post-poll situation. This clearly shows that the leadership is not serious about actually reforming anything at all.”
Senior party leader Kapil Sibal had suggested that Gandhis must step aside, thereby miffing the party leadership. Pro-Gandhis leaders of Congress party have subsequently stepped up their attacks on Sibal for his earlier remarks.