NEW DELHI: Congress dissident and high profile lawyer Kapil Sibal
on Wednesday snapped his ties with the party and crossed over to the Samajwadi Party camp, adding to the mounting list of crossovers in recent weeks and amplifying the perception of negativity about the grand old party.
Continuation of Sibal, a vocal member of the dissident G-23 grouping, in Congress had looked uncertain for some time and the suspense got over when he filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha
as an “independent” candidate, with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav by his side at Lucknow’s Vidhan Bhavan.
Sibal told reporters that he had resigned from Congress on May 16, ending his three decade old relationship. While avoiding harsh words for Congress, Sibal said he wished his erstwhile party well and spelt out that in the Parliament, he will try to bring together all opposition parties against the anti-people and communal BJP — an objective he first spoke out when he hosted a dinner of opposition parties in August 2021 that triggered a controversy.
Sibal has never been a mass leader, but given his name and stature, his exit is arguably the most dramatic in recent times compared to Ashwini Kumar, RPN Singh, Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel.
Sources said the prominent lawyer who successfully defended before the Election Commission Akhilesh Yadav’s claim for the ‘bicycle’ symbol following a rift in SP and had been appearing for Samajwadi leader Azam Khan
, had a long meeting with Sonia Gandhi
after he sent his resignation to her.
Sibal’s exist had increasingly looked likely as he had rendered a compromise difficult by publicly declaring that the Gandhi family should move out of the leadership role, and did not go to Udaipur for the ‘chintan shivir (brainstorming session)’ this month. Also, sources said he intimated some G-23 leaders ahead of Udaipur session that he had decided to leave Congress.
His move is a dampener for Congress as it came just 10 days after the Udaipur brainstorming session which was designed to project a restart with organizational restructuring and a ‘Mission 2024’.
It has been raining resignations in Congress lately. Sunil Jakhar, a Rahul Gandhi
favourite from Punjab, joined BJP last week, while the young gun from Gujarat Hardik Patel quit too — both training their guns at the first family. Earlier during the March polls, AICC incharge and old Congress hand RPN Singh joined BJP and former Union minister Ashwani Kumar quit predicting an AAP win in Punjab.
Though most of these leaders rode the Congress’s 2004-14 ascendance to election victories and Rajya Sabha nominations, and have since been out of favour with voters, Sibal is a celebrated name who has connections across party lines and is a cut above other defectors.
He has also acquired a reputation among Muslims by consistently taking up cudgels on the community’s behalf. Some others, like RPN Singh, have been good party managers and with influence in their areas, while Hardik Patel’s exit is expected to hurt the party’s prospects in Gujarat.The situation could only worsen in coming days if more disgruntled leaders quit. Watch Kapil Sibal: 'Had tendered my resignation from the Congress party on 16th May'