Azad move flags the uncertainty facing senior G23 leaders | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Azad move flags the uncertainty facing senior G23 leaders

Aug 26, 2022 11:35 PM IST

A section of the members, including Anand Sharma, said Azad’s move had shocked them and the circumstances surrounding it were “entirely avoidable’’

New Delhi The resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the group of 23 leaders who asked for wholesale reform within the Congress, has highlighted differences of opinion within the dissenters.

Former parliamentarian Sandeep Dikshit expressed dismay over the resignation of fellow G23 leader Azad. (Ayush Sharma)
Former parliamentarian Sandeep Dikshit expressed dismay over the resignation of fellow G23 leader Azad. (Ayush Sharma)

A section of the members, including Anand Sharma, said Azad’s move had shocked them and the circumstances surrounding it were “entirely avoidable’’.

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A section of the Congress party now believes that the exit of two key G23 leaders, Azad and Kapil Sibal -- the latter resigned in May -- might prove costly for the rebel group as several others have already switched sides, diminishing the importance of internal reformists.

Former Rajya Sabha deputy leader Anand Sharma , who recently withdrew from party responsibilities in the poll-bound state of Himachal Pradesh, expressed shock over Azad’s resignation. Speaking to the press, he said, “It’s a serious development and will pain all Congressmen. I’m personally shocked. This situation was entirely avoidable. We were hopeful that there would be serious introspection but, unfortunately, that process was subverted.”

Former parliamentarian Sandeep Dikshit expressed dismay over the resignation of fellow G23 leader Azad. Writing to Azad, Dikshit said it was important to remain in the party to seek change rather than to quit.

“It was equally important to remain inside the party, fight both policy and people, whichever and whoever we believe had and were damaging the party. But leaving the party unfortunately strengthens the very policies, systems and people that made us write our letter of reform as a demand, as a duty and as our right,” he wrote.

Referring to the letter that the grand old party’s rebel faction wrote to the senior leadership in August 2020, Sandeep, the son of former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, added, “To my mind, we, and I in it, had raised the banner of reform, not a banner of revolt.”

While Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was yet to respond officially, he has gone public recently with his discontent within the party. In a recent interview, he said, “Shashi Tharoor is not likely to stay in a rut for long. Let me leave it there.’’

Another prominent G23 leader, former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said, “All that we demand is the party should be run in a democratic manner. Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi led us with dignity but after she stepped down, the consultative decision making process has stopped.”

On Azad’s exit, Chavan said, “It’s a big loss to the party. If the Congress elections take place, then the party can again become a vibrant party which can go back to winning ways. The group is now G20 and not G23 as some senior leaders have left.”

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