Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday tendered his resignation from all party posts as well as its primary membership, in a scathing letter addressed to interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. In his five-page letter, Azad came down heavily on party leader Rahul Gandhi and held him responsible for the successive losses the party has seen in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the last 8 years.
He also rubbished the organisational elections which will be held by the party and termed the process an eyewash. “The entire organisational election process is a farce and a sham. At no place anywhere in the country have elections been held at any level of the organisation. Handpicked lieutenants of the AICC have been coerced to sign on lists prepared by the coterie that runs the AICC sitting in 24 Akbar Road,” Azad wrote.
The Congress, too, was unsparing in its criticism of Azad following his resignation. Top leaders of the party sought to label him as an opportunist and castigated him for his attack on Rahul Gandhi.
Also Read: Congress has reached a point of no return: 10 big takeaways from Ghulam Nabi Azad’s explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi
Here are some of the top reactions from Congress:
Jairam Ramesh: In a tweet, the Congress leader said, “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.”
Pawan Khera: The party’s media department head said, “We all saw Ghulam Nabi and Modi ji’s closeness in assembly. We all know who has the remote for writing this letter. It means that he is greedy for position.”
“As soon Azad’s Rajya Sabha term got over, he became restless; he can’t stay without post even for a second,” Khera told PTI.
Mallikarjun Kharge: Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI, “When Congress is in difficulty; minorities, Dalits, press, people who speak of democracy being attacked, we’ve to fight BJP-RSS together. If you run away from battle, you’re betraying the party and running away in fear of atmosphere created by (PM Narendra) Modi ji.” “Attack on Rahul Gandhi is not right because you know all members of that family personally. Sonia Gandhi has always taken advice from you. You were a part of CWC meetings and Core Committee meetings,” he said. “When you yourself took decisions by being a part of everything, saying that party isn’t functioning well, isn’t right. It doesn’t suit him. It’ll be a loss to him as he’s not with us in our fight against RSS. I am saddened. He should rethink his decision,” Kharge added.
Salman Khurshid: Congress leader Salman Khurshid told ANI, “Rahul Gandhi is our leader and will remain so. We don’t have a give and take relationship with Rahul Gandhi. It’s our duty to do something for the party. It’s not mature that people who were associated with the party for a long time leave over such a small thing.”
“It’s not that we can’t go anywhere but we will not go and will remain with the party. We see this country’s future with the party and hope that party will rise,” he added.
Farooq Abdullah: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah told ANI, “Azad was a bit impulsive… Should stick to his secular ideals… And we would love to take him in the NC if Azad sahab requests. The Congress should also find a way to get the senior leaders back.”
Bhupesh Baghel: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said “Ghulam Nabi Azad got everything that he could from the party… Congress suffers no loss due to his exit.”
Also Read: Ghulam Nabi Azad quits Congress, blames Rahul Gandhi in hard-hitting letter
Anand Sharma: Congress leader Anand Sharma said ANI, “It’s a serious development and will pain all Congressmen. I’m personally shocked. This situation was entirely avoidable. We were hopeful that there would be serious introspection but unfortunately, that process was subverted.”
Sunil Jakhar: BJP leader Sunil Jakhar was quoted saying by ANI, “It’s beginning of the end, what Azad’s resignation signifies is that Congress had it coming. They perpetuated this situation. It was writing on the wall which they chose to ignore-whether it was Jyotiraditya Scindia, RPN Singh, Jitin Prasada and now Azad.”
Himanta Biswa Sarma: Congress-turned-BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister was quoted saying by ANI, “If you read GN Azad’s letter and the letter I wrote in 2015, you’ll find a lot of similarities. In Congress, everyone knows Rahul Gandhi is immature. Sonia Gandhi is not taking care of the party, she’s only trying to promote her son. It is a futile attempt.”
He added, “As a result, people loyal to parties are deserting it. I had predicted that a time for Congress will come when only Gandhis will remain in the part and it is happening. Rahul Gandhi is actually a blessing for BJP.”