Congress Leader of the House in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday hit out at his colleague Kapil Sibal’s criticism of the party, suggesting he should join another outfit or start a new one, reported NDTV.

“If some leaders think that Congress is not the right party for them, then they may set up a new party or can join any other party which they think is progressive and according to their interest,” Chowdhury said. Referring to Sibal’s recent comments, he also said that “such embarrassing activities” by party leaders can “erode the credibility of Congress.”

Chowdhury’s comments come two days after Sibal had said in an interview that people do not consider Congress as an alternative and blamed the leadership for not recognising the matters ailing the party, despite knowing about them.

Speaking to NDTV, Chowdhury said that senior leaders like Sibal “enjoy proximity” to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, and can “raise their issues before the party leadership or in the right party forum”.

In a separate interaction with reporters in Kolkata, Chowdhury questioned Sibal for not being involved in the party’s campaign for Bihar elections and bye-polls in various states, reported ANI. “He [Sibal] seems to be very concerned about the Congress party and the need for introspection,” Chowdhury remarked. “But we did not see his face in elections in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat. Speaking without doing anything does not mean introspection.”

Infighting within Congress

The comments from the Congress MP from West Bengal is not the first reaction from inside the party to Sibal’s interview.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday criticised Sibal saying that his remarks about the party’s internal matters in the media hurt the sentiments of workers across the country.

A day later, Salman Khurshid, without taking any names, criticised “party colleagues who suffer periodic pangs of anxiety”, in a Facebook post. “...The constant refrain of some persons should not be of aimless introspection but for reaffirmation of fundamental principles we believe in,” he wrote.

On the other hand, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son and the party’s MP from Sivakasi Karti Chidambaram tweeted Sibal’s interview, saying that it was time for Congress to “introspect, ideate, consult and act”.

Earlier this year, 23 Congress leaders, including Sibal, had written to Sonia Gandhi suggesting that there has been a “steady decline of the party”. Asked if any action was taken after the letter was sent, Sibal, in the recent interview, said, “There has been no dialogue and there seems to be no effort for a dialogue by the leadership”.