Sushmita Dev quits Congress, likely to join TMC; Kapil Sibal slams leadership

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New Delhi: Congress leader and the party’s women’s wing chief Sushmita Dev has quit the party and sent her resignation letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, sources said on Monday. The sources said Dev may join the Trinamool Congress. Meanwhile senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has slammed the party saying, “While young leaders leave we ‘oldies’ are blamed for our efforts to strengthen it.”

A former Lok Sabha MP from Silchar in Assam, Dev, is currently a national spokesperson of the Congress and the All-India Mahila Congress chief. She offered no reason for her quitting the party. In her letter to Gandhi on Sunday, Dev said she was beginning a “new chapter in my life of public service. Dev has also changed her Twitter bio to a former member of the party and former chief of the Mahila Congress. In her, Dev said she is resigning from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress.

“I cherish my three-decade-long association with the Indian National Congress…I hope I have your good wishes as I begin a new chapter in my life of public service,” she said in the letter. Dev had met the Congress president along with other leaders of the Assam Congress on 14 August.

Her Twitter account was also temporarily blocked last week after she shared Rahul Gandhi’s picture with the parents of the nine-year-old victim of alleged rape and murder in Delhi. .

Following her resignation, Sibal on Monday said the party is moving on with its “eyes wide shut”. “Sushmita Dev resigns from primary membership of our Party. While young leaders leave we ‘oldies’ are blamed for our efforts to strengthen it,” the former union minister said on Twitter. “The Party moves on with: Eyes Wide Shut,” he also said.

Sibal, a member of the ‘Group of 23’ leaders who had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul, has been demanding that the party be strengthened. The senior party leader on Sunday welcomed the party chief’s initiative of bringing like-minded political parties together, but urged her to strengthen her own party, saying no Opposition unity is possible without it.

Sibal, however, said he along with other leaders of the “Group of 23” would continue to demand reforms in the grand old party and keep pushing for its strengthening. “I am happy that Congress president Sonia Gandhi is taking the initiative of bringing about Opposition unity. But our reform agenda has to continue and we will keep pushing for it to strengthen the Congress,” he said.

The former Union minister said he and his party colleagues are ready to support these efforts in order to revive and revitalise the Congress. He said Gandhi can “jettison” him if he stands in her way, but he would continue to seek strengthening of the Congress for bringing it to the forefront of Opposition unity.

“This is not about me, but about a revival of the Congress and bringing it to the forefront of Opposition unity. Without the Congress being strong, there can be no Opposition unity,” Sibal said. Sibal said Opposition unity will not come about till the Congress is revived and strengthened.

“This project of Opposition unity will fail if the Congress is not strengthened and rejuvenated. I hope the Congress realises the significance of its primacy,” he said.

With inputs from PTI

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