Lucknow/New Delhi, May 25: Saying that he had resigned from the Congress last week, Kapil Sibal on Wednesday filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha as an Independent candidate from Uttar Pradesh supported by the Samajwadi Party.
Sibal, whose exit from the Congress is another jolt for the electorally battered party, went to the Uttar Pradesh assembly premises to file his papers with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav and other senior leaders.
A prominent member of the G23, which had sought an organisational overhaul in the Congress, Sibal's tenure as Congress' Rajya Sabha MP ends in July,
"I have filed the nomination as an Independent candidate. I thank Akhileshji for supporting me," Sibal told reporters in Lucknow.
"I resigned from the Congress on May 16 and am no longer a senior Congress leader," he said.
Sibal, who has been vocal in his criticism of the Congress leadership, had called for a non-Gandhi as the new party chief.
"We are all constrained by the fact that we are members of parties and have to abide by the discipline of that party but it is important to have an independent voice," the former Union minister told reporters.
"We want to make a coalition and oppose the Modi government. We want to create an atmosphere in which we can oppose the BJP. I will personally work towards that," he said.
Referring to the 2024 elections, he said there should be an atmosphere where the shortcomings of the Modi government can reach people.
Yadav said Sibal is being supported by the Samajwadi Party.
"Kapil Sibal is a senior leader and a known lawyer. He had been in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and put his point across well everywhere. I hope he will put his views on big questions of rising inflation and China , the SP president, who is also leader of opposition, added.
Sibal's resignation comes close on the heels of Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel resigning from the Congress, which recently held a 'Chintan Shivir' in Udaipur.
Elections for 11 Rajya Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh are underway.
There had been speculation that the SP could field Sibal as a Rajya Sabha candidate. He was the lawyer who secured senior SP leader Azam Khan's bail. Khan had been in Sitapur jail for over 27 months in various cases lodged against him in Rampur.
The SP has a strength of 111 in the 403-member assembly and can send three members to the Upper House of Parliament. The BJP with 255 members can send eight.