DC Edit | Few buy Sibal’s proposition

Deccan Chronicle.

Opinion, Op Ed

There were also voices that urged the Congress that it should get its house in order

Kapil Sibal (Twitter)

The most notable aspect of last Monday’s dinner at the residence of prominent Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal, who is a high-profile member of G-23, the Congress ginger group that most notably seeks a new party president and organisational reforms, was the presence of leaders of regional non-BJP parties which have given comfort to the BJP rather than to BJP’s opponents in the past six years.

Does that make it an Opposition conclave with an anti-Gandhi family tilt? Or, a dinner invitation from one of the country’s leading lawyers who can count among his clients prominent political personalities, many of whom attended?

While parties such as YSRCP, BJD, Akali Dal — parties that generally oppose the Congress — attended, so did the regional parties that were in the two Congress-led UPA government, besides Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress and the Shiv Sena, parties that are on board the anti-BJP bandwagon along with the Congress.

The flavour of the conversation, as may be guessed from the thin media reporting, appeared to point to the need to have an anti-BJP front in the next Lok Sabha election. At the same time, an Akali Dal MP at the dinner urged that the Congress rid itself of the “clutches of the Gandhis”. A BJD MP said that there was no Congress in Odisha. There were also voices that urged the Congress that it should get its house in order.

Does that amount to a recognition that without the Congress acting as the core of an anti-BJP alliance, such a platform cannot be effective? This is hard to tell at the present stage. Nor can it be asserted at this juncture that all the parties present at Mr Sibal’s post-birthday dinner be on board in an anti-BJP set-up when the time is ripe. But what is hard to miss is that the BJP government’s actions have begun to make many informal allies of the BJP somewhat uncomfortable.

It seems unlikely that Mr Sibal, or any other G-23 member, may be counted by other Opposition parties as the real inheritors of the Congress mantle minus the Gandhis around whom an anti-BJP grouping may emerge with the purpose of challenging the BJP nationally.

In contrast with the dinner was the breakfast meeting hosted by Rahul Gandhi last week where 14 parties showed up, including TMC and the Sena. The tone of this meeting seemed to have more of an anti-BJP edge.

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