G-23 leader meet in Delhi after Congress poll debacle

New Delhi, March 11 : A day after Congress faced a bitter defeat in polls in five states, senior leaders of the party, who are part of the group referred to as G-23, met in the national capital on Friday evening. Even as Congress said that a meeting of the working committee of the party will be called soon by party president Sonia Gandhi, the senior leaders met as clamours grew in the party for organisational reforms. Party leaders including Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who have from time to time demanded that organisational polls be held, met at the residence of Azad in Delhi. Anand Sharma, Bhupender Singh Hooda, and Akhilesh Prasad Singh also attended the meeting on Friday evening. Sources said some leaders also joined virtually. According to sources, the leaders discussed the poll debacle, ahead of a CWC meet which is to be held soon, though dates have not been announced yet. The leaders will raise the issue of organisational reforms once again in the CWC, along with the poll performance. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, after the results were announced on Thursday, had said all who supported the Congress were “hurting from the results of the recent assembly elections”, and called for organisational reforms. A number of Congress leaders from the G-23, a group that has sought reforms in the party, have demanded election of a new president. In September 2021, Azad had written a letter to Congress working President Sonia Gandhi demanding a meeting of the Congress Working Committee. The letter had come amid disruptions in Punjab Congress after former chief minister Amarinder Singh was made to resign. Sibal had also launched a scathing attack on party leadership, questioning the decision making in the backdrop of events in Punjab Congress. Shortly after he held a press conference, a protest was held at Sibal’s residence in Delhi by Congress workers. Several senior party leaders had condemned the protest. In October 2021, at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, Sonia Gandhi had described herself as a “fulltime” and “hands on” president of the party and reprimanded critics within the party for speaking out on public platforms calling for reform within the party. Congress’ performed poorly in all five states that had gone to polls. BJP has retained power in four states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, while Aam Aadmi Party swept the polls in Punjab. The Congress had said on Thursday the results were against expectations. AO SHK2302

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