The G-23 or group
of 23, Congress leaders who have differences with the party high-command, ruled
out splitting the grand old party because they felt the Congress was not strong
enough to survive a split, NDTV reported quoting sources within the Congress. The
“rebels,” spearheaded by Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister of Jammu and
Kashmir, have said that the Congress must do away with the Gandhi loyalists in
leadership positions.

Sonia Gandhi, the
Congress president, is said to have spoken to Azad and reassured the veteran
leader. The G-23 leaders had said that the only way forward for the Congress
was to adopt a model of “collective and inclusive leadership and
decision-making at all levels,” the Indian Express reported.

Congress leaders Sandeep Dikshit and Mani Shankar Aiyar leave from the residence of party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, after the Congress G-23 leaders’ meeting

On Wednesday
night, G-23 leaders met at Ghulam Nabi Azad’s residence. Apart from the usual
few, three new leaders emerged at the rebel congress – Mani Shankar Aiyar, a
former civil servant-turned-parliamentarian, Praneet Kaur, wife of Captain
Amarinder Singh, and Sankarsinh Vaghela, a leader from Gujarat who recently
quit the Congress to join Sharad Pawar’s NCP but is said to be looking to
return to the Congress.

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The G-23 leaders’
meet was convened to discuss the fate of the Congress after it received a
sensational drubbing in the five recently-concluded Assembly polls. Congress
was any way out of power in four of the five states. In the one state where it
had a government, Punjab, Congress lost by a landslide to AAP.

Following the
meeting, the G-23, issued a formal statement signed by 18 leaders which stated:
“We believe that the only way forward is for the Congress party to adopt the
model of collective and inclusive leadership at all levels.”

The G-23 meet follows
a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) where party president Sonia
Gandhi had offered to resign from the leadership post along with her son Rahul
Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The CWC, however, did not allow them
to resign. Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi asked for the resignation state Congress
chiefs of the five states that went to polls.