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President. Sources close to the Group of 23 leaders said they have also invited members of Congress who do not constitute the bloc but believe changes are needed, including at the leadership level, to revive its electoral fortunes.

The group, which has criticized management, had written to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 demanding an organizational overhaul. The decision to convene a G-23 meeting came on a day when Sonia Gandhi called for the resignation of Congress presidents from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa following the dismal performance of the party in the assembly elections.

Sibal, in his latest salvo targeting the leadership, had said the Gandhis should stand down and give another leader a chance to lead the party, prompting a backlash from Gandhi family loyalists who accused him of talking the language of the BJP and the RSS. “Leadership is in cuckoo country, I want a ‘Sab ki Congress’. Some want a ‘Ghar ki Congress’,” Sibal told the Indian Express in an interview.

The G-23 has, however, weakened over time, with top leader M Veerappa Moily distancing himself from the group, Jitin Prasada joining the BJP and Mukul Wasnik not attending its meetings lately.

Meanwhile, reacting sharply to Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s criticism of the Gandhi family following the party’s recent election debacle, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Tuesday that Sibal was ‘not rooted in Congressional culture’, and that he ‘doesn’t know ABC of Congress’.

Gehlot’s remarks came after Sibal sparked a row with his comments that the Gandhis should stand down and give other leaders a chance to run Congress.

“He (Sibal) is a great lawyer, but he didn’t work hard like other culture workers in Congress do. He got a chance gradually, and with Sonia Gandhi’s blessing and Rahul Gandhi’s support, he got a straight place in the Union Cabinet.

“Such comments from someone to whom Congress has given so much are unfortunate. Kapil Sibal does not know the ABC of Congress, he does not understand the basic spirit of the party. Congress made sacrifices for the country before and after independence, which Sibal forgets.

Gehlot said no one from the Gandhi family has become prime minister, chief minister or even minister in the past 30 years.

“The people of the country want the Gandhi family to maintain the unity of Congress… The country stands with the Gandhi family,” he added.

Gehlot also said Sibal made such statements out of frustration.

“What Kapil Sibal thought is beyond comprehension. At a time when the party could not win the elections, the leaders should have at least shown unity,” Gehlot said.

“Congress will be there in the next century too. The DNA of the country and the DNA of Congress are similar,” he added.

Sibal previously criticized Congress’s decision to hold a brainstorming session following the party’s poor showing in recent five-state Assembly elections. He also advised the Gandhi family to separate themselves from the party leadership.

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