A day after Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s home was attacked by his own party men, protesting his criticism of the Gandhis, his colleague Anand Sharma said he is “shocked and disgusted”.
The attack followed Mr Sibal’s “G-23, not Ji Huzoor-23” taunt at the Gandhis, who are facing fresh questions on their decisions amid the Congress’s Punjab mess.
“Shocked and disgusted to hear the news of attack and hooliganism at Kapil Sibal’s house. This deplorable action brings disrepute to the party and needs to be strongly condemned,” Anand Sharma tweeted, urging Sonia Gandhi to take strong action.
Congress has a history of upholding freedom of expression. Differences of opinion and perception are integral to a democracy. Intolerance and violence is alien to Congress values and culture. Those responsible must be identified and disciplined,” the former Union Minister wrote, not holding back while slamming Congress workers.
A group of Congress workers last evening held up “Get well soon, Kapil Sibal” placards, threw tomatoes at his house and damaged his car. Workers of the Youth Congress also raised slogans of “Leave the party! Come to your senses!” and “Rahul Gandhi Zindabad!”
The episode highlights internal turmoil boiling over in the party as it struggles with a huge crisis in Punjab, barely four months before state polls, after the sudden resignation of its state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Mr Sidhu’s move has shocked the Gandhis, who had backed him in his feud against Amarinder Singh, a two-time Punjab Chief Minister who quit earlier this month citing repeated humiliation by the party.
Mr Sibal yesterday questioned who was taking calls in the Congress. “In the Congress there is no elected president now. Who is taking calls? We don’t know who is taking decisions in the party,” he had said.
He also declared that he would keep raising questions as “We are G-23, definitely not Ji Huzoor-23.”
Mr Sibal and Anand Sharma are both in the “G-23” or the group of 23 dissident Congress leaders who wrote an unprecedented letter to Sonia Gandhi last year calling for a complete turnaround in the Congress and a “full-time, visible leadership”.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, another signatory to the letter, wrote again yesterday urging Sonia Gandhi to call a meeting of the Congress Working Committee to decide on a full-time party president.
Many Congress leaders publicly attacked Mr Sibal.
Sonia Gandhi has been interim chief since 2019, when her son Rahul Gandhi quit over the Congress’s second straight national election defeat.
In its down spiral over the last few years, the Congress has lost several high profile leaders to the BJP and other parties. Yesterday, Amarinder Singh met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, feeding the buzz about his possible switch to the BJP.