Senior Congress leader and former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar quit the party Tuesday. In a resignation letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr Kumar wrote: “Having given my thoughtful consideration to the matter, I have concluded that in the present circumstances and consistent with my dignity, I can best subserve larger national cause outside the party fold.”
He added: “I am accordingly quitting the party after a long association of 46 years and hope to proactively pursue public causes inspired by the idea of transformative leadership, based on the dignitarian promise of a liberal democracy envisioned by our freedom fighters.”
The 69-year-old has served as one of the youngest Additional Solicitor General of India. He was also a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab and held several portfolios in the last UPA government. This is yet another setback for the Congress ahead of Punjab elections as it fights to keep its house in order amid multiple desertions.
Insiders shared that Mr Kumar has been upset over being sidelined during campaigning for the Punjab polls.
He added: “Congress is not the party that it was…We don’t have a transformative and inspiring leadership to lead the party… I have neither quit politics nor public service. I shall continue to discharge my obligations to the nation.”
The veteran Congressman joins the likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, RPN Singh, Sushmita Dev, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Laliteshpati Tripathi who have quit the Grand Old Party. Two other veterans — former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh — too recently parted ways with the party.
Kumar’s exit has definitely come as a shock for the top leadership since he was a staunch loyalist of Sonia Gandhi and had defended her when the G-23 wrote to her in August 2020 calling for sweeping changes in the party.
He had then said that the issues that required to be addressed can be addressed only under the leadership of Gandhi. “Only a year ago (in 2019), party persons literally begged her to lead the party and she agreed as a call of duty. It is wrong to question her unifying leadership at this stage. I am of the view that under the present extraordinary circumstances, political adventurism cannot be the way forward,” Mr Kumar had maintained then.