Kapil Sibal says no clarity on Congress internal polls yet, cites ‘disenchantment’ in party

In an interview to The Indian Express, Sibal spoke about the continuing farmers’ agitation, saying the only way out was that “you must have a law which gives MSP to the farmer for his produce”.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. (File)

Nearly a month after Congress president Sonia Gandhi met the top party leadership and the group of 23 leaders who wrote to her, seeking sweeping reforms within the party, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal Sunday said while Sonia held an “open discussion” and promised internal elections, there is still “no response” and “clarity” on how and when that will happen.

In an interview to The Indian Express, Sibal spoke about the continuing farmers’ agitation, saying the only way out was that “you must have a law which gives MSP to the farmer for his produce”, the central vista project, state of the economy, the next Budget and the forthcoming Assembly elections in four key states. He said while the industry gets maximum support, the farmers are asking for minimum support.

“What this government does is to act on impulse without thinking things through. This happened with demonetisation, with GST and this is an issue as these laws were passed … without full consultation… Mishandling issues is in this government’s DNA….It is like the decisions in a Sultanate. Decisions made are cast in stone. We are back in the days of medieval India,” he said.

On the meeting with Sonia, Sibal said, “I, unfortunately, was not there because I was travelling. But I think that we had an open discussion. And obviously, the Congress president, who is at the moment, guiding the party said that there would be an election. Now, we are not clear what these elections are going to be…in the sense…. we believe that elections will be conducted consistent with the provisions of the Constitution.”

“For example, the election of the President will be conducted along with the election of the Working Committee, and the election of the Central Election Committee. That’s part of the Constitution. We have no clarity on that. Thereafter, we also want the institutions of the Parliamentary Board to revive. And since the meeting on December 19, we’re almost one month down the road….we’ve had no response on how and when this will happen. We hope that that response comes in the next few days because it’s very important for the Congress to revive itself as a political force in our country.”

“Those who feel that it’s already a political force and very strong political force and is doing all that it can, and the process of revival has started, I think, need to look at what’s happening in various states. There is a level of disenchantment. I can talk about Delhi… several leaders have come to me and expressed grave concern about processes in Delhi and want the party to act swiftly. We are all die-hard Congressmen…so that the Congress can be the force that it was, and shall be in times to come. But we haven’t yet got the kind of response that we were hoping,” he said.

Asked about the next step, he said, “These are dialogues that take place within the party. I don’t want to enter into the merits or demerit matters of concern. All that I can say is that there is a Constitution that we are governed by, and that all Congressmen must respect that constitution and its processes.”

On talks of return of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president, he said, “We’re not supposed to respond to buzzes, we respond to reality. So when these things happen, when cards are laid on the table, we’ll get to know the reality.” Asked whether his return will change anything, he said, “I don’t know. I think it all depends on processes being taken forward in accordance with the Constitution and in consultation with all key elements and key personalities within the Congress party”.

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