Congress leader Sushmita Dev’s resignation drew a stinging, public attack on the party’s leadership from Kapil Sibal, one of the veterans rooting for big changes in the organisation. “The party moves on with Eyes Wide Shut,” wrote the former Union Minister in a post on Twitter.
“Sushmita Dev Resigns from primary membership of our Party While young leaders leave we ‘oldies’ are blamed for our efforts to strengthen it The Party moves on with : Eyes Wide Shut,” Kapil Sibal wrote.
Resigns from primary membership of our Party
While young leaders leave we ‘oldies’ are blamed for our efforts to strengthen it
The Party moves on with :
Eyes Wide Shut
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) August 16, 2021
Sushmita Dev, a Congress member of three decades and daughter of party stalwart Santosh Mohan Deb, quit on Sunday and is set to join the Trinamool Congress.
Her perfunctory note to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi offered no explanation. Another leader, Manish Tewari tweeted: “If this is true it is most unfortunate. Why sushmitadevinc? Your erstwhile colleagues and friends especially the person who was National President of @nsui when you contested your first (Delhi University) elections back in 1991 deserve a better explanation than this laconic letter?”
If this is true it is most unfortunate
Why @sushmitadevinc ?
Your erstwhile colleagues & friends especially the person who was National President of @nsui when you contested your first @DUSUofficial elections back in 1991 deserve a better explanation than this laconic letter? pic.twitter.com/0thBTVFCmY
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 16, 2021
The party had dismissed speculation that she was on her way out, back in March.
Mr Sibal’s broadside, believed to be directed at the Gandhis, comes days after his birthday dinner that doubled up as an opposition meet where questions were asked about the Congress’s leadership.
Whether the Congress is up to the task of leading a combined opposition versus the BJP in 2024 and the party’s perceived leadership stasis was a conversation piece at the dinner last Monday where Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were conspicuously missing.
Some opposition leaders suggested that a reboot of the Congress is necessary and that could only happen if the party was “freed from the clutches of the Gandhis’ leadership”, sources said.
Both Mr Sibal and Manish Tewari are among the “G-23” or group of dissenters who wrote an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi last year, expressing concern over the party’s slide since it lost power in 2014. The leaders demanded sweeping organisational changes to arrest the drift – including an “active, visible leadership” and internal elections.
At a meeting soon after the letter, the Gandhis assured changes but internal elections have been repeatedly deferred, to the growing frustration of the rebels, and more polls have been lost by the party.