Those criticizing the Congress can join some other party or start a new one instead of indulging in “embarrassing activities”, a top leader said today in the latest round of bickering over Kapil Sibal’s comments.
Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, the Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha, also remarked that “such leaders” were close to the Gandhis – party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi – and were free to raise issues with them.
“If some leaders think that Congress is not the right party for them then they may set up a new party or can join any other party which they think is progressive and according to their interest. But they should not indulge in such embarrassing activities since it can erode the credibility of the Congress,” Mr Chaudhary told reporters in Bengal.
“Such senior leaders should not indulge in such embarrassing sweeping statements. They enjoy proximity to the Gandhi family. They can raise issues before the party leadership or in the right party forum,” he added.
Mr Chaudhary also questioned where these leaders were during the Bihar elections. “If such leaders are serious about revamping the Congress party, then they should try to prove their mettle on the ground. Did they volunteer to work for the party during the recent Bihar elections,” he asked.
On Monday, Kapil Sibal said in an interview to the Indian Express newspaper that the Congress was in decline, that the time for introspection was over and the party “must be brave and willing to recognise them.”
He said he was forced to raise issues in public as there was no forum in the party to express his views. “We are yet to hear from the Congress party their views on our recent performance in Bihar and in the by-elections. Maybe they think all is well and that it should be business as usual,” Mr Sibal said.
The comments have pushed the Congress’s unresolved leadership crisis back into the spotlight days after its appalling performance in the Bihar election and countrywide bypolls.