Shortly after Congress leader Kapil Sibal taunted the Gandhis with his “G-23, not Ji Huzoor-23” comment, party workers demonstrated outside his house with “Get well soon” signs, threw tomatoes and damaged his car.
Youth Congress workers also launched slogans of “Leave the Party!” Come back to your senses! And “Rahul Gandhi Zindabad!”
Mr Sibal had previously called the media and raised a series of questions in the context of the collapse of Congress in the Punjab. “In Congress, there is no longer an elected president now. Who takes the appeals? We do not know who makes the decisions within the party,” he said.
“We are G-23, certainly not Ji Huzoor-23. We will continue to raise issues,” Sibal said, firing punches at the Gandhis without naming them.
After protests from his own party employees, Mr. Sibal told NDTV: “I am not shaken by this tragedy, I was very careful with what I said.”
The Gandhi have often been accused of ignoring the advice of anyone outside of their inner circle, at enormous cost to the party. “Ji Huzoor (yes, boss)” was a dig at this so-called coterie.
The accusation was often brought to light by the G-23 or the Group of 23 letter writers who wrote to Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping changes in the organization and its leadership.
In the Punjab, just four months into the election, a series of disastrous decisions saw Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra back Navjot Singh Sidhu against staunch Amarinder Singh, who then quit his post as chief minister and accused the party of the ‘humiliate three times. Mr Sidhu stunned his bosses yesterday by resigning his post as Punjab’s congressman just two months after taking office, leaving the party even more adrift in an election-linked state where he was in a position. by force even months ago.
“The Punjab is a border state. Pakistan is exploiting the situation,” said Sibal, echoing Amarinder Singh’s criticism of the party for handing over the reins of the Punjab to Mr. Sidhu.
Today, Amarinder Singh met with Union Home Secretary Amit Shah, fueling massive speculation that he was about to change. On the record, however, the captain said the meeting was about farm law protests.
In recent weeks, Congress has lost leaders like Sushmita Deb and Luizinho Faleiro to the Trinamool Congress. The nosebleed started when Jyotiraditya Scindia, one of Rahul Gandhi’s closest confidants, moved to BJP last year. Earlier this year, Jitin Prasada followed and is now Minister of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. In Rajasthan, the party lives with the threat of a feud between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot which explodes at any moment.
Even as Mr. Sibal addressed the media this afternoon, Mr. Faleiro, a veteran leader from Goa, was welcomed on board by the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata.
“Why are people leaving? Maybe we should see if it’s our fault? We must immediately call a CWC (Congress Working Committee), at least so that a dialogue can take place. The irony of Congress is that the elected officials, those who are close to them (Gandhis) are gone and those who they think are not close to them are still there, “said Sibal.
“We will not give up the party ideology and go nowhere else. Congress is the only party that can save this republic because the current regime is destroying the foundations of our republic.”
The “G-23” wrote an unprecedented letter to Sonia Gandhi last year asking for “visible and effective leadership”. Since then, various leaders have reminded the Gandhis that nothing has changed on the ground and that the downward spiral of Congress continues state after state. Today, a second letter was written by Ghulam Nabi Azad to Ms Gandhi calling for a CWC to discuss the election of a full-time president of Congress.
“I am really, very, very upset to have to come and see you. But we have no choice. I don’t see Congress in this situation,” Sibal told reporters.
Congress leaders said the workers went to Sibal’s home alone because they “were hurt” by his comments.
Head of Youth Congress Srinivas BV said on Twitter: “Listen to ‘Ji-Huzoor’: – The ‘President’ and ‘Leadership’ of the party are the same, which always ensured your entry in Parliament, made you a “minister” during the good times of the party, when he was in opposition, ensured your entry into Rajya Sabha, always rewarded by responsibilities in good times and bad.