Ex-Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar quits Congress, cites ‘dignity’
Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar today quit Congress, his party for more than four decades, calling the move ‘in line with my dignity’.
Ashwani Kumar served as justice minister in the Congress government led by Manmohan Singh between 2009 and 2014.
In his resignation letter to Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi, shared by news agencies, Dr Kumar wrote: “After considering the matter, I have concluded that under the present circumstances and in accordance with my dignity, I can better serve a larger national cause. outside the fold of the party.”
He also said he “hopes 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.”
Dr Kumar told the Indian Express that Congress’ “internal processes” diminish individual leaders.
“Congress’s continued decline in terms of percentage of votes, in terms of popular support clearly shows that the party is out of step with the way the nation thinks,” he told the Express.
He also said on Rahul Gandhi that “the national mood is not in favor of the alternative which the Congress party is presenting to the people in terms of their future leadership”.
It is the latest exit from Congress, weeks after the party lost RPN Singh, another former Union minister and top leader of Uttar Pradesh.
Last month, RPN Singh, a leader who was close to the Gandhis and part of Rahul Gandhi’s core team, left Congress and joined the BJP within hours.
The high profile exits started with Jyotiraditya Scindia, who in 2020 moved to the BJP, bringing down the Congress government of Madhya Pradesh. He is now aviation minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Last year, another key UP leader, Jitin Prasada, left the party. He soon joined the government of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
But Dr Kumar is the first senior Union minister to quit the party since Congress lost power in 2014. He was counted among party veterans and a prominent Gandhi family loyalist.
The internal turnover in Congress became public knowledge when a group of 23 leaders – dubbed the G-23 – wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi calling for major reforms in the party, including “visible, full-time leadership” and collective decision making. .
Ironically, Dr. Kumar had strongly defended the Gandhis at the time and criticized the letter writers.
Most of the group’s leaders remain in Congress, but they have often been outspoken in their criticism.
Recently, the announcement of a Padma award for Ghulam Nabi Azad – one of the G-23 – sparked another round of Congress against Congress with Gandhi family loyalists accusing the former Union minister of lean towards the BJP.