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Congress 'getting weaker'

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Raj Babbar during a Shanti Sammelan event in Jammu on Saturday
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Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Raj Babbar during a 'Shanti Sammelan' event in Jammu on Saturday

Highlights

The group comprises Congress veterans like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar, Manish Tewari and Vivek Tankha

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New Delhi/Jammu: The group of 23 dissenting Congress leaders (commonly known as 'G23'), who wrote a strongly worded letter to Sonia Gandhi over the party's leadership crisis last year, met in Jammu on Saturday and said the party is getting 'weaker' and they are raising their voice for the party's betterment.

The G23 leaders, comprising Congress veterans like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, among others, said they are seeing the Congress party "getting weaker" across the country.

"The truth is that we see Congress party getting weak. That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together," Kapil Sibal said in Jammu. The G23 leaders met in Jammu for an event titled 'Shanti Sammelan' (peace conference). The event was organised by former Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad, who retired recently from Parliament, and saw attendance of leaders like Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar, Manish Tewari, and Vivek Tankha.

Last year, this group of 23 senior Congress leaders wrote a strongly worded letter to party president Sonia Gandhi, raising questions over the manner in which the party is being led.

In the letter, the leaders sought a complete overhaul of the Congress leadership at all levels and immediate election to the post of party president. The letter leaked out to the media and resulted in a major controversy within the Congress party. The rift was also later reflected in a meeting of the Congress Working Group (CWG), the party's highest decision-making body.

Addressing the gathering, former Union minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the "Congress has weakened" in the last decade. "Our voice is for the betterment of the party. It should be strengthened everywhere once again. The new generation should connect (to party). We have seen good days of Congress. We do not want to see it weakening as we become older," Anand Sharma said.

Speaking at the event, Kapil Sibal said the leaders who have gathered in Jammu were "saddened" after realising that Ghulam Nabi Azad is "being freed from Parliament" by the Congress party. Ghulam Nabi Azad was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha before his retirement.

In his address, Ghulam Nabi Azad said more Congress leaders wanted to attend the event, "but I told them that people would start speculating" and asked them to come next time.

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