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A day after a group of Congress’s G-23 leaders met and issued a statement urging for unity, former party president Rahul Gandhi met with former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday. This was Rahul’s first meeting with a G-23 leader after the Assembly poll defeat that widened the divide within the party.

During the one-hour meeting, sources revealed that Hooda emphasized the need for a “collective and inclusive decision-making model.” When Rahul suggested that Hooda should meet the party president, Hooda reportedly indicated that Rahul himself was effectively serving as the Congress president by making all the decisions.

Following the meeting with Rahul, Hooda visited Ghulam Nabi Azad’s residence, where Anand Sharma also joined them. Later in the evening, Hooda, Azad, Sharma, and Kapil Sibal, all part of the G-23 group, held another meeting.

Sources indicated that a meeting between Azad and party president Sonia Gandhi may take place on Friday.

“We discussed the political situation in Haryana and ways to strengthen the party on a national level,” Hooda stated.

The G-23 leaders pointed out Rahul’s announcement of a CM face in Punjab and Priyanka Vadra’s allocation of 40% of tickets to women in Uttar Pradesh as examples of unilateral decisions by the siblings.

Expressing concern over the party’s internal issues, Manish Tewari emphasized the need for significant reforms within the Congress. He warned against a lack of transparency in leadership selection, urging for a more democratic process.

Tewari highlighted the disconnect between the party’s leadership and its ground reality, emphasizing the urgent need for change to prevent the Congress from facing extinction.

Referencing a recent meeting of G-23 leaders, Tewari noted the collective frustration over electoral setbacks and the party’s failure to address critical issues for rejuvenation. He criticized the appointment of colleagues to assess post-poll situations in defeated states, pointing out conflicts of interest in the selection process.

Tewari described the Congress as being in an existential crisis and warned against the possibility of a Congress-free India if immediate and drastic measures were not taken to address the party’s internal challenges.

Meanwhile, party leaders criticized Kapil Sibal for suggesting that the Gandhis step aside. Health Minister T S Singh Deo called Sibal’s remarks irresponsible and demanded disciplinary action against him, emphasizing the continued leadership of the Gandhis within the party.

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