Former Haryana minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav announced his decision to quit the Congress on Friday, citing continued neglect and humiliation. Yadav, who was power minister in the previous Congress government in Haryana, blamed All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Haryana, Kamal Nath, and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for his decision.
Before sending his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi late in the evening, he announced his decision on Twitter in the morning: “I gave my youth and life for the congress and worked as true soldier of the party but my ego has been hurt I quit congress (sic).” He followed it up with a series of tweets lambasting Nath and Hooda.
However, his son Chiranjeev Rao, general secretary in the Haryana Congress unit, said he will urge his father to reconsider his decision. “I am in the Congress. This is his decision. We want him to reconsider it. He is out of town. I will talk to him on his return from Ajmer. In my view, there is no party better than the Congress,” he said.
‘NATH MISLEADING SONIA’
A six-time former MLA from Rewari, Yadav accused the two leaders of being hand in glove and hurting his prestige. “He did not give fair feedback to the party leadership,” the former minister, who was in Ajmer, told HT over the phone. He accused Nath of misleading Sonia Gandhi about him and undermining his position. “If he has put in 40 years in the Congress, I have served the party for 30 years. I will not let anyone hurt my dignity,” he said.
While Yadav has been feeling neglected for some time, the immediate provocation is the meeting of prominent party leaders convened by Nath in Delhi on Wednesday to bring truce among factions of the state unit. Yadav was first invited to the meeting and then told not to attend it. He felt slighted.
‘HOODA ARM-TWISTING PARTY LEADERSHIP’
Hitting out at Hooda, Yadav accused him of “arm-twisting” the central leadership and having his way. “Pehle Hooda government thi aur ab Hooda Congress hai (It was Hooda government earlier. Now it’s Hooda Congress). He has 12 MLAs and is forcing the party to toe his line. Hooda was under fire after the Jat quota stir and the Rajya Sabha fiasco, but we defended him,” he said.
Yadav said he could have stayed in the Congress, but not in Hooda Congress. “When there is no respect, this was inevitable. I was elected to the state assembly when the Congress had just 5 or 9 MLAs. I have been winning in adverse conditions. Unfortunately, I lost this time,” he said.
Yadav had backed Hooda for the CM’s post in 2005, but then developed differences with him. He had resigned from the council of ministers in 2014, criticising Hooda for focusing on Rohtak and ignoring other areas, but later withdrew the resignation – a decision that he “repents till date”.
SETBACK FOR CONGRESS IN AHIRWAL
Yadav’s move is being seen as a blow for the Congress in southern Haryana. Another strong leader from the Ahirwal region, Rao Inderjit had quit the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Rao is now a minister in the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre. Though Yadav has been accused by his detractors of hobnobbing with the BJP leaders, he denies it.
Yadav’s three generations have been in the Congress. His father Rao Abhey Singh was elected to the state assembly in 1952, 1957 and 1972. His son Chiranjeev Rao was the first elected president of Youth Congress in Haryana. Chiranjeev, married to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Anushka, is presently general secretary of the Haryana Congress unit.