Sources present at a G-23 meeting at the residence of Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad indicated that expansion plans were on the cards. A more brazen and emboldened G-23 would not only stress reforms but also go to the grassroots level and mobilise party workers.
It was late in the night when an SUV drove out of 5, South Avenue, ending a four-hour-long, much-hyped dinner on Wednesday. Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, wore a faint smile and waved as he left the high-profile residence of party leader Gulam Nabi Azad in Lutyens, Delhi. However, the smile couldn’t hide the widening rift between the rebels and the high command of the Grand Old Party.
IS G-23 PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT?
Soon, the other leaders, including five former chief ministers, seven Union ministers, and former MPs, who attended the dinner, trooped out. However, all of them, except Vivek Tankha, remained tight-lipped about the meeting. Tankha only shrugged and said that there wasn’t any rebellion and the dinner was simply an excuse to catch up with friends.
The meeting reportedly ended with a short statement that was marked by political hyperbole and loaded words like ‘inclusive’, ‘collective’, ‘exodus’ and ‘like-minded parties’ — in a clear message that truce was a matter of the past and the notion of rebellion would spread among the party workers now.
With Kashmiri delicacies on the leaders’ plates, the political seasoning surely added more spice to the Gushtaba. What was unusual about the meeting was that, unlike the previous instances, this time around, the group brazenly put out a statement, thus, diffusing the cloud of doubt that hovered over the meeting after
ources present at the meeting indicated that expansion plans were on the cards. A more brazen and emboldened ‘G23’ would not only stress reforms but also go to the grassroots level and mobilise party workers.
“We are not leaving the party. We are Congressmen and believe in the party’s ethos. So, we are here to stay unless we are thrown out,” a leader said. Congress leader Manish Tewari had said something similar a few weeks ago.
THE WAY AHEAD
Another leader added that they will announce their future plans soon. “We are planning to mobilise party workers. Many agree with us that the party needs to reboot itself and we shall go to the last worker for his/her opinion,” he added.
The G-23’s statement appealed to the Congress leadership to ally with like-minded parties to create a formidable alternative to challenge the BJP in the general elections in 2024. However, unlike in the past, it wasn’t apologetic or conciliatory in its tone. It also underlined the need for a more inclusive and collective leadership within the party.