Ghulam Nabi Azad quits Congress saying Rahul Gandhi destroyed party’s consultative mechanism

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s resignation ‘unfortunate’, timing ‘awful’, said the Congress party

August 26, 2022 12:12 pm | Updated 08:40 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who resigned from the party on August 26, 2022. File

File photo of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who resigned from the party on August 26, 2022. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Rahul Gandhi has demolished all the consultative mechanism in the Congress and the “remote control” culture that damaged the UPA was brought into the party, said Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad in his resignation letter on Friday that ended his nearly 50-year-old association with the party.

Launching a scathing attack against Mr. Gandhi, he said the Congress has been “comprehensively destroyed and asserted that the party has reached this state because it wanted to “foist a non-serious individual on the party for the past eight years”.

In his resignation letter sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Azad alleged that she was merely “a figurehead and all decisions were taken by Rahul Gandhi or his personal assistant and security guards”.

Also Read | In a jolt to Congress, Anand Sharma does a Ghulam Nabi Azad by quitting key post

Responding to the developments, Congress general secretary in-charge of communication Jairam Ramesh said it is “most unfortunate and regrettable” that Mr. Azad chose to send this letter when the entire Congress was taking on the BJP government on the issue of prices, social polarisation and political divisions through its Bharat Jodo Yatra and Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally.

Few other Congress leaders, who chose to be anonymous, linked Mr. Azad’s ‘letter bomb’ to the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which he would participate by floating his regional party and could eventually tie up with the BJP.

‘Visible signs’

Suggesting that Mr. Azad was getting close to the BJP for sometime now, Mr. Ramesh said whether it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tearful farewell for Mr. Azad in the Rajya Sabha, honouring him with a Padma Vibhushan or giving an extension to his Lutyen’s bungalow, the signs were visible.

“A man who has been treated by the greatest respect by the Congress leadership has betrayed it by his vicious personal attacks which reveals his true character. GNA's DNA has been modi-fied.” he tweeted.

In his letter, however, Mr. Azad cited insults and sidelining of seniors by Mr. Gandhi and his coterie as the reason for his departure.

“...unfortunately after the entry of Shri Rahul Gandhi into politics and particularly after January, 2013, when he was appointed as Vice President by you (Sonia Gandhi), the entire Consultative mechanism which existed earlier was demolished by him,” he said, adding, ”All senior and experienced leaders were sidelined and new coterie of Inexperienced sycophants started running the affairs of the Party,” Mr. Azad said in his resignation letter.

“Worse still the remote control model that demolished the institutional integrity of the UPA government now got applied to the Indian National Congress. While you are just a nominal figurehead all the important decisions were being taken by Shri Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs,” he added.

Political slide

In a no-holds-barred attack, the former Leader of the Opposition also pointed the political slide of the Congress under the Gandhis.

“Under your stewardship since 2014 and subsequently that of Shri Rahul Gandhi, the INC has lost two Lok Sabha elections in a humiliating manner. It has lost 39 out of the 49 assembly elections held between 2014-2022,” he said, adding that the party has ceded space to the BJP at the Centre and regional parties in States.

Mr. Azad also blamed Mr. Gandhi for the slide of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government and cited the incident where he had torn an Ordinance as a “glaring example of his immaturity”.

“This one single action more than anything else contributed significantly to the defeat of the UPA Goverment in 2014 that was at the receiving end of a campaign of calumny and insinuation from a combination of the forces of the right wing and certain unscrupulous corporate interests,” he said.

Mr. Azad said that ever since he, along with 22 of his colleagues, had written to Ms. Gandhi to suggest reforms, the coterie around Mr. Gandhi targeted him and even carried out a mock funeral in Jammu, and attacked his former colleague Kapil Sibal’s house.

The former Congress stalwart claimed that the party has reached a point of no return as “proxies” are put up for leadership roles and called the upcoming organisational elections “a farce and a sham”.

“In fact, before starting Bharath Jodo Yatra, the leadership should have undertaken a Congress Jodo exercise across the country. It is therefore with great regret and an extremely leaden heart that I have decided to sever my half a century old association with the Indian National Congress and hereby resign from all my positions including the primary membership of the Indian National Congress,” Mr. Azad wrote.

Azad’s resignation ‘unfortunate’, timing ‘awful’: Congress

The Congress on Friday called senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s resignation “unfortunate” and termed the timing “awful”, saying it has come at a time when the party is engaged in combating the BJP on various issues.

“Ghulam Nabi Azad was a senior leader of the Congress. It is saddening that when the party fighting against inflation and polarisation, he decided to quit. It is most unfortunate and regrettable that this has happened when the entire organisation is engaged in combating the BJP on issues of price rise and unemployment,” the Congress said.

Party General Secretary Jairam Ramesh also questioned the contents of the letter written by Mr. Azad.

“Contents of the letter is not factual, timing is awful,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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