Kapil Sibal quits Congress, files Rajya Sabha nomination with Samajwadi Party support

Sibal had struck a discordant note after he wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational revamp and called for a proactive leadership

FPJ BureauUpdated: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 11:15 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Former Union Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal (73), who was part of the Congress-led governments from 2004 to 2014 but became a loner in the dissident group of G-23 which he had mobilised, has finally walked out of the Congress and accepted Rajya Sabha nomination from the Samajwadi Party.

Sibal had struck a discordant note after he wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational revamp and called for a proactive leadership.

In fact, at a recent press conference, he had said the G-23 is "not a Jee Huzur 23" as it would continue to reiterate the demand for the Congress recast. Most of the G-23 leaders, however, distanced themselves from Sibal after Azad scaled down his tone against the Gandhis.

Whereas the others, who were part of the G-23, were accommodated by Sonia Gandhi, Sibal was kept at bay and had no option but to leave.

Two members of the G-23 -- former Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Rajya Sabha Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma -- were only on Tuesday accommodated in the political affairs group.

Likewise, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, another G-23 signatory, continues to be leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly and got his man appointed as the state Congress chief recently.

Sibal, whose Rajya Sabha term ends next month, issued a statement after filing his nomination papers in the presence of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, saying he wants to be "an independent voice in the Upper House."

In his statement, Sibal said: “We are all constrained by fact that we are members of parties and have to abide by the discipline of that party but it is important to have an independent voice. We want to cobble together a coalition and oppose the Modi government. We want to create an atmosphere in which we can oppose the BJP. I will personally work towards that.”

During his Lok Sabha tenure from 2004 to 2014, Sibal handled many union ministries, including law, education and communication.

His resignation comes close on the heels of resignations of former Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar and Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel. Jakhar had quit in the midst of the Chintan Shivir and Hardik thereafter.

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