The Congress on Tuesday said that the group of 23, or G-23, never existed and blamed the media for “perpetuating this mythology”, PTI reported.

“G-23 is a figment of your imagination,” said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. “It never existed. Why you are going on perpetuating this mythology of G-23?”

Ramesh made the statement after being asked whether the G-23 leaders would be participating in the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi.

The G-23 is reportedly a dissident group in the Congress. It has been pushing for collective and inclusive leadership in the party since August 2020. Its members even wrote a letter to interim chief Sonia Gandhi to press for sweeping changes in the party.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, a veteran leader and former Union minister who resigned from the Congress last week, was part of the G-23. He blamed Rahul Gandhi for demolishing the Congress’s “consultative mechanism”. Several Congress leaders have resigned from the party in support of Azad.

On Tuesday, Ramesh held a press conference with senior leader Digvijaya Singh, All India Congress Committee General Secretary Tariq Anwar and MP Shashi Tharoor.

“There is no G-23,” Ramesh reiterated. “There is only a G-Congress [an apparent reference to the Gandhian Congress].”

Singh criticised the leaders, who quit the party over differences with the leadership, saying that they did not leave because of ideological issues, PTI reported.

“Tell me one statement of the person you are mentioning...Has he given any statement against the RSS or the BJP or Mr Modi or the functioning of the BJP government?” Singh said, referring to Azad’s resignation. “What kind of politics is this?”