New Delhi: In a major blow to the Congress, senior party leader and former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan revolted against the Gandhis and has decided to quit the party.
She is expected to hold a press conference on Friday afternoon to formally announce her decision.
According to reports, the veteran Congress leader sent an explosive letter to party President Sonia Gandhi in which she alleged a motivated campaign against her in the party.
As per the letter details of which were revealed by a leading daily, Natarajan claimed she became a victim of a â€œvicious, false and motivatedâ€ media campaign by certain individuals in the party after Rahul Gandhi changed his stance from being pro-environment to being corporate-friendly ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Natarajan, environment minister in the UPA cabinet, wrote in the letter that she was forced to reject big-ticket projects upon receiving specific requests from Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on environmental clearances. The projects were denied clearances despite being favoured by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Cabinet colleagues.
Natarajan, in her letter, also stated she was never a bottleneck in the development process, nor was she ever responsible for unwarranted delays in major projects and has reiterated her demand for the Congress to make clear why she was removed as a minister even after then Prime MinisterÂ SinghÂ praised her for her ‘excellent work’ and ‘valuable contribution.’
She even mentioned that people from Rahul Gandhi’s office had planted stories over her resignation.
“The next day my resignation was headlines in the media, and all the initial reports correctly reported that I had stepped down for party work. By the afternoon, to my shock, I received information that persons from the office of Shri Rahul Gandhi were calling the media and planting stories that my resignation was NOT for party work,” she wrote in the letter.Â
Natarajan had resigned in December 2013, months before the May 2014 General Elections. Congress had then claimed she would instead focus on party work.