Kapil Sibal, ace
lawyer and one of the most visible leaders of the Congress party, announced his
resignation on Wednesday saying that he had tendered his resignation on May 16.
Sibal, 73, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, has served as minister in
various ministries in the UPA era. Congress’ recent drubbings in polls and his
criticism of the Gandhi family leadership put him at odds with Sonia Gandhi.

On Wednesday,
Sibal’s announcement came as a surprise. “I had resigned from the Congress party
on May 16,” he told the media, quipping, “I am no longer a serious Congress

Sibal’s resignation
is latest in the round of high profile exits from the Congress, the fifth in
five months. His resignation on May 16 came a day after the conclusion of the
Congress Chintan Shivir, a meeting of top Congress leaders to discuss the
future of the Grand Old Party.

“I have filed my
papers as an independent candidate. It is important to be an independent voice
in parliament. If an independent voice speaks up then people will believe its
not linked to any political party,” Sibal said.

Kapil Sibal’s
troubles with the Congress began when he became the foremost member of the “G-23,”
a group of senior leaders who sought wide-ranging changes in the party
configuration along with a change in leadership.

Two years ago,
these leaders wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking these changes. But the
Congress leadership rebuffed suggestions and took an increasingly adversarial
position against the critics. Sibal, on the other hand, became more and more
critical of the leadership and especially that of Rahul Gandhi.

Kapil Sibal’s term
in the Rajya Sabha ends in July. Elected to the Upper House in 2016, Sibal was
supported by the Congress and the Samajwadi Party. The Congress, with just two
MLAs in the UP Assembly, cannot elect anyone to the Rajya Sabha.

Kapil Sibal filed
his nomination papers in the presence of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led party moved to support Sibal after the senior advocate
represented SP leader Azam Khan in the Supreme Court and secured him an interim