Jayanthi Natarajan, the fall guy?

Former Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Friday quit from the primary membership of the Congress citing “humiliating treatment” in the manner in which she was shunted out of the Ministry in 2013 and the refusal of the high command for over a year to hear her defence. Mounting a scathing attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi she said she was “vilified, humiliated and sidelined” by the central leadership.

Jayanthi Natarajan

Jayanthi’s trajectory

  • First elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986 and once again in 1992
  • 1996: She joins party leaders to form breakaway Tamil Maanila Congress
  • 1997: She resigns from the Rajya Sabha and is re-elected as a TMC member. She is appointed Minister of State for Coal, Civil Aviation and Parliamentary Affairs in United Front government at the Centre
  • July 12, 2011: Jayanthi replaces Jairam Ramesh as Environment Minister in the UPA-led Union government
  • November 16, 2013: She is asked by Ajay Maken to address media to attack then BJP prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the ‘Snoopgate’ issue
  • December 19, 2013: She notifies order on the protection of Western Ghats based on Kasturirangan report amid protests by sections holding economic interests in the region
  • December 20, 2013: She is forced to resign as Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge) to ‘work for the Congress party’
  • December 21, 2013: Rahul Gandhi addresses FICCI meet: “Many of you have expressed your frustration with environmental clearances that are delaying projects unduly. There is excessive administrative and judicial discretion. The loopholes are so big you can drive a truck through some of them! Environmental and social damage must be avoided, but decisions must also be transparent, timely and fair.”
  • January, 2014: Environment Minister Veerappa Moily clears several pending mega projects
  • November 5, 2014: Jayanthi writes to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to express her anguish at the treatment meted out to her
>Read more

She allegedly sat on various projects even after Expert Appraisal Committee clearance

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Vedanta Rs.4,500-crore Bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills

Aug. 2010: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi assures Niyamgiri tribals he is their ‘sipahi [soldier] in Delhi’

April, 2013: Supreme Court rules Vedanta must get nod from 12 gram sabhas of Niyamgiri hills

“If the bauxite mining project in any way affects [villagers’] religious rights, especially their right to worship their deity, that right has to be preserved and protected” ~ SC Bench

Jan. 20, 2014: MoEF rejects environmental clearance to project

Lavasa township project in Maharashtra

November, 2010: MoEF slaps financial penalty on Lavasa for violation of Environment Protection Act, orders fresh EIA

June, 2011: MoEF offers nod to project subject to five preconditions, Lavasa agrees to four (environmental restoration fund, CSR allocation, revised development plan)

November, 2011: MoEF grants clearance after year-long holdover

Nirma Cement plant in Gujarat

May, 2011: MoEF seeks relocation of plant from ‘wetland’ site

June, 2013: MoEF postpones expert panel’s pre-monsoon visit to site to ascertain whether it is waterbody or wasteland.

Supreme Court Bench call the postponement “abuse of process of law”

> Jayanthi Natarajan quits Congress

Former Union Environment Minister and Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan on January 30, 2015 announced that she would quit the party.

Key points

Jayanthi called for raising minimum time for MoEF clearance from 150 to 300 days

> Jayanthi Natarajan's letter to Sonia Gandhi

A look at the letter sent on November 5, 2014

Key projects stalled/rejected based on ‘specific input’

Adani group project: Asked by Rahul Gandhi to ‘liase’ with Gujarat Congress’ Deepak Babaria on complaints by NGO, fisherfolk


Rahul Gandhi's FICCI address, a day after Jayanthi Natarajan resigned as Minister of State for Environment and Forests.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 5:38:37 PM |

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