Nine months after he quit the Congress, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal Saturday launched a “non-electoral” political platform — which he framed as “a people’s movement for justice” — and sought the support of all Opposition Chief Ministers and leaders.
Addressing a press conference, Sibal said the new platform, ‘Insaaf’, was not a political party but aimed to unitedly fight against injustice of all kinds — social, economic, political and legal — and would come up with constructive ideas and suggestions for governance. Lawyers would be at the forefront of the movement, Sibal, a lawyer himself, said.
While the former Congress leader said he was not against any particular political party, his outreach to parties only in the Opposition space indicated ‘Insaaf’ would be an anti-BJP government platform. He also launched a website ‘Insaaf ke Sipahi’ to enlist “volunteers”.
He said he would next organise a public meeting at Jantar Mantar on March 11 to which “everyone would be invited”, and where he would come out with a vision for the country.
Elaborating on the “injustice” prevailing in the country, Sibal said eight elected governments had been toppled in the last eight years, making the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution “a defector’s paradise”, even as the courts, people and lawyers were silent. “This is political injustice,” he said.
On economic injustice, Sibal cited that the richest 100 people in the country now had a combined wealth of Rs 54 lakh crore.
On the action against Opposition parties, Sibal said: “The government’s Valentine is the Enforcement Directorate (ED). You set the ED after anyone… you scare them, arrest them, intimidate them, force them to give statements. The CBI cannot enter a state (to take up a case) without the state government’s permission, but the ED can go anywhere. The fact of the matter is we are in a situation where we see a government versus the citizen. We want a government for the citizen, not versus the citizen,” he said.
Accusing the Narendra Modi government of trying to finish off the Opposition, Sibal said that the ED had gone after 121 politicians since 2014, out of which 115 belong to the Opposition.
It’s not just the people of India who were facing injustice in everyday lives, so are political parties, institutions, media, small and medium businesses, he said.
Sibal said he wanted to float a platform to ensure that the people can rise in every nook and corner of the country to fight injustice of all kinds. “The RSS has shakhas in every locality and they spread their ideology. And there is also injustice because of this ideology. So we will fight against that injustice too,” he said.
The former Congress leader went on to talk about “the rise in hate speech, ballooning unemployment and increase in atrocities against Dalits”, and said: “I want all the Opposition chief ministers to support me. I want all the Opposition leaders to support me. And we can start a national movement on the basis of which we can rid this country of the slavery that we are witnessing.”
Asked whether his platform was political, he said: “The moment you talk about fighting against injustice, that is political. There is injustice of every kind. This is people versus… I am not talking in favour of any particular party. The people of India have to realise what was the thought process behind the Constitution, what is envisaged and what is happening now.”
At the same time, Sibal said, he was not of the view that whatever the Modi government was doing was bad. “There are many policies… digitisation, housing scheme… which are good. We are not against those. But where the people’s voices are suppressed, where there is injustice, we are against that.”
On his former party, he said he would urge all political parties including the Congress to be part of the movement. “We are saying let’s unite so that the country remains sovereign, liberty remains intact.”
One of the most trenchant critics of the Gandhis towards the end, Sibal had quit the Congress in May 2022, soon after publicly asking the family to step aside from leadership roles. He had later won a Rajya Sabha seat as an Independent, supported by the Samajwadi Party.