Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Monday hosted a dinner attended by political bigwigs from the party and like-minded parties, creating a buzz in political circles given his recent role in party affairs.
He was the prime mover behind the letter written to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi calling for wide-ranging reforms and is also seen one of the leaders who has serious differences with the working of Rahul Gandhi.
Those who arrived for the dinner at Sibal's Teen Murti Marg residence included NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, RLD President Jayant Chaudhary, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, accompanied with his senior party leader Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, besides Congress leaders Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, and Anand Sharma.
Party of opposition re-grouping ahead of 2024?
Sources say the meeting was nothing to do with politics but was gathering a day after Sibal turned 73, while sources close to the leaders say that this is a part of the opposition regrouping ahead of the crucial Assembly polls next year.
The Congress leaders attending the dinner rejected any speculation that it was related to party's internal functioning but said they want strong opposition unity ahead of 2024 elections.
While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day tour to Srinagar but prominent among missing leaders was Ghulam Nabi Azad who was also one of the Congress leaders pushing for reforms in the party.
The Congress leaders, who came to be known as 'G-23', wanted elections from block to CWC level in the party and wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi in this regard. The dinner coincides with a year of the letter which took the party by storm, but its demands are still to be implemented with Sonia Gandhi still the interim President and Rahul Gandhi calling the shots in the decision-making process, even as the party lost all crucial polls in Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Puducherry, and West Bengal. The only solace was Tamil Nadu, where it was part of the DMK-headed alliance.