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INDIA Bloc Conclave: Kapil Sibal’s Unexpected Presence Who Resigned from Congress on May 16, Last Year, Sparks Controversy

INDIA Bloc Conclave: KC Venugopal, a senior Congress leader, expressed his discontent about Sibal’s attendance to former Maharashtra minister Uddhav Thackeray before a planned photo opportunity with opposition leaders

Mumbai, 01 September(City Times): INDIA Bloc Conclave: Tensions rose at the mega opposition meeting, the INDIA conclave in Mumbai, as Congress leaders expressed displeasure over the unexpected presence of former party member Kapil Sibal, Some Media sources informed on Friday. Sibal, who left the party last year citing a desire not to be tethered to any specific party, was not an official invitee, leading to discontent among his former colleagues, the sources added.

Senior Congress Leader Protests
KC Venugopal, a senior Congress leader, expressed his discontent about Sibal’s attendance to former Maharashtra minister Uddhav Thackeray before a planned photo opportunity with opposition leaders. It’s important to note that Thackeray’s Shiv Sena UBT is hosting the INDIA bloc meeting.

Interventions and Acceptance
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav made efforts to mediate the situation, encouraging Venugopal to accept Sibal’s participation in a meeting aimed at uniting all opposition figures ahead of next year’s elections. Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP, reportedly stated he had no objections to Sibal’s presence. Consequently, Sibal, who continued as a Rajya Sabha MP representing Uttar Pradesh after leaving the Congress, was included in the photo opportunity and welcomed to the meeting.

Key Decisions Anticipated at INDIA Bloc Meet
Following meetings in Patna and Bengaluru, the INDIA group, now comprising 28 parties, convened for a three-day session in Mumbai. Here, they are expected to strategize on countering Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

Potential Announcements
Among the significant decisions that may be made include the unveiling of the new grouping’s logo, the appointment of spokespersons, the formation of sub-groups for various departments, and discussions about a Common Minimum Programme. There has also been speculation regarding who might be chosen as the prime ministerial candidate for the alliance.

Recalling Kapil Sibal’s Exit from Congress
Kapil Sibal, a former Union Minister, resigned from the Congress on May 16 last year, just one day after the party’s “Chintan Shivir” – a brainstorming session to address the party’s challenges following election losses and internal turmoil.

G-23 and Critical Concerns
Sibal had voiced concerns as part of the “G-23,” a group of 23 dissenters who advocated for substantial changes within the Congress. In the period leading up to his departure, Sibal had criticized the party leadership, stating that “the leadership (the Gandhis) is in cuckooland.”

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