Sibal, Puri lock horns on liberalism at JLF closing debate

Indo Asian News Service

Jaipur, Jan 28 (IANS) Veteran Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri locked horns at the Jaipur Literature Festival's closing debate on the proposition "Do liberals stifle debate" here on Monday.

Alleging that the Modi government was indulging in foul play to contain a news channel "Harvest" that Sibal is promoting, the Congress MP accused the BJP government of stifling dissenting voices.

Puri retorted that Sibal was only promoting his channel. He said liberals in India have borrowed the inspiration from their Western counterparts and called for an introspection by those who disguise themselves sunder the garb of liberalism.

"Those who are calling themselves liberal are a confused lot. You were ashamed of your Indianness and Indian liberals need to introspect. You are trying to bring the state down but ultimately it will bring you down," said Puri.

The two politicians got into personal attacks during the hour-long discussion.

"If you have the courage to make a mistake and acknowledge it, then you are liberal," Sibal said.

Towards the end of the debate, however, Puri recognised that Sibal was a good teacher to him at college that he was an excellent lawyer but maintained that he was a politician in the wrong place.

The 12th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival ended on Monday.