Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned on Friday from all his posts, including the party’s core membership. The development comes after Azad resigned as head of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress campaign committee on August 16.
This came days after Azad resigned as chairman of the campaign committee and political affairs committee of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress hours after his appointment. Azad is the head of the dissident G-23 and was passed over by the party for the Upper House nomination.
In a searing letter of resignation to Sonia Gandhi, she blamed her son Rahul for the congressional defeat in the 2014 national elections, a turning point for the party that has been struggling to win elections ever since. Congress was “totally destroyed” and had reached a point of no return, he declared, criticizing a “remote control model” in which Sonia Gandhi is “just a nominal figurehead” while important decisions are taken by “Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs (personal assistants)”.
This is the last major departure from Congress in the last three years and the third this year after Kapil Sibal and Ashwani Kumar.
Azad, 73, said Congress had given the BJP and regional parties their political space “because the leadership over the last eight years has tried to impose a non-serious individual” at the head of the party.
“Unfortunately, after Rahul Gandhi’s entry into politics and particularly after January 2013, when you appointed him vice president, the entire consultative mechanism that existed before was demolished by him,” Azad wrote, pointing out that Sonia Gandhi had heeded senior leaders.
All the veteran and experienced leaders have pushed aside, he said, and “a new clique of inexperienced sycophants” began to run party affairs.
“One of the most blatant examples of his immaturity was Rahul Gandhi’s smashing of government ammunition in full view of the media,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi in 2013 broke a controversial ordinance or special order to prevent the disqualification of convicted lawmakers and called it “complete nonsense”, embarrassing his own Congress-led government and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“This childish behaviour completely subverted the authority of the Indian Prime Minister and government. This single action, more than anything else, contributed significantly to the defeat of the UPA government in 2014, which was the target of a campaign of slanders and innuendos of a combination of right-wing forces and certain unscrupulous corporate interests,” Azad’s letter said.
Azad went on to chronicle the downward spiral of Congress in recent years, without beating around the bush.
“Under his administration since 2014 and later that of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has lost two Lok Sabha elections in a humiliating manner. It has lost 39 of the 49 assembly elections held between 2014 and 2022. The party only won four state elections and was able to enter a coalition situation in six instances. Unfortunately, today, Congress is governing only two states and is a very marginal coalition partner in two other states.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad is one of the group of 23 leaders who were vocal about a leadership change in the Congress and not being dependent on the Gandhi family for every major decision of the Congress party. Earlier on Wednesday, lawyer-turned-politician Jaiveer Shergill, resigned as Congress spokesperson stating that the decision-making of the grand-old party is not in consonance with the ground reality and public interest rather it is influenced by sycophancy.
Who is Ghulam Nabi Azad?
Ghulam Nabi Azad was the leader of the opposition Congress party in the Rajya Sabha. He was Minister for Parliamentary Affairs of India in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government until October 27, 2005, when he was appointed Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir; he became the first Jammu and Kashmir Congress Chief Minister after 30 years. He also served as Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare from 2009 to 2014.
Azad entered politics in 1973, at the age of 24. Since then, he has been elected as AICC Secretary General nine times and has been a member of the Congress Working Committee for more than 18 years. He is currently a Rajya Sabha MP for Jammu and Kashmir, where Azad was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2015, despite the fact that the PDP-BJP alliance holds the majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly.
He is often considered the “crisis manager” of his party and is known for his organizational skills. As the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Azad has been at the forefront of many attacks that the Opposition has launched against the BJP on various issues.
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