It’s Cong vs Cong as Gehlot slams Sibal

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16

Faced with criticism over its Bihar debacle by allies and insiders alike, the Congress today hit back saying it would recover from every loss.

Amid calls for reform by former minister Kapil Sibal, sitting MP Karti Chidambaram and former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, the grand old party fielded veteran Ashok Gehlot to defend its position.

Gehlot warded off Sibal’s criticism, saying the latter’s public remarks had hurt workers’ sentiments and that the Congress had always sprung back from crises.

Sibal, part of the 23-member group that recently asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for radical internal reforms, yesterday said time for introspection was over and action was needed now.

“There was no need for Mr Sibal to mention our internal issues in the media. This has hurt the sentiments of party workers across the country. The Congress has seen various crises in 1969, 1977, 1989 and 1996, but came out stronger due to its ideology, programmes, policies and firm belief in the party leadership. We improved with each crises and also formed the UPA government in 2004 under the leadership of Sonia. We will overcome this also. Even today, the Congress is the only party that can keep the nation united and take it forward on the path of comprehensive development,” Gehlot said of Sibal amid signals that Congress dissenters may be regrouping with a section hinting at a “big move in future”.

On RJD’s criticism, AICC Bihar incharge Shakti Sinh Gohil ticked off RJD senior Shivanand Tiwari for accusing the Congress of trammelling the grand alliance in Bihar.

“Tiwari ji is a former JDU MP and his loyalties still lie with CM Nitish Kumar. He is helping the JDU and BJP,” Gohil said after Tiwari yesterday accused Rahul Gandhi of non-seriousness in the election campaign having contested 70 seats and held only three rallies.

“It is not surprising that Tiwari’s loyalties are still with the JDU. He is levelling baseless allegations on the Congress leadership to help the JDU and BJP government. The Congress heeded the advice of alliance partners and even agreed to fight on seats it had not won in 30 years. 

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