New Delhi, February 15
Former justice minister and ex-MP Rajya Sabha of Punjab Ashwani Kumar resigned from Congress on Tuesday, ending 46 years of association with the party.
Sending in his resignation to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Kumar said he could better serve national interests outside the fold of Congress.
“After reflecting on the matter, I have concluded that under the present circumstances and in accordance with my dignity, I can better serve broader national causes outside the fold of the party. I therefore leave the party after a long association of 46 years and I hope to proactively pursue public causes inspired by the idea of transformative leadership, based on the worthy promise of liberal democracy envisioned by our freedom fighters,” Kumar, 69, said. in his letter to Gandhi.
Kumar, whose two generations have been associated with Congress, blamed his decision on “lack of leadership” in the party.
Noting that he had persevered enough in the party, Kumar said the Congress was unable to reinvent itself and continued to decline.
The former justice minister said recent controversies over the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Padma Bhushan at Ghulam Nabi Azad further solidified his decision to step down.
Kumar also criticized the way Congress “dealt with former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh”.
“The former CM was publicly humiliated and it went against the principles that Congress upheld,” Kumar said.
He also questioned the open competition for the post of chief minister in Punjab (between CM Charanjit Singh Channi and CCP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu), saying it showed the party in a “very bad light”.
Kumar said the Aam Aadmi party was on the verge of winning Punjab and added that the Congress as a national party faced a major challenge with much stronger regional players emerging.
The former minister said he had not decided on the future course of action but would remain active in politics to serve the interests of the “people of the country”.
Kumar has been a strong advocate for “dignity and respect in politics”.
“I didn’t feel like I belonged in Congress anymore,” said the veteran, who served in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet between 2004 and 2014, as he left the big old party.