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Natwar Singh quits Congress party

The former external affairs minister had been earlier suspended from Cong after being indicted in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2008 20:26 IST

Former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, who had been suspended from the Congress party after being indicted in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, on Wednesday announced that he was quitting the party.

"Today I am quitting the Congress," Natwar Singh said while addressing a rally of the Jat community near Jaipur.

The rally was organised by the Maharaja Suraj Mal Foundation in memory of the former maharaja of Bharatpur. It had the backing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Natwar Singh, a Rajya Sabha member whose term is to expire in April, did not, however, announce which political outfit he would join after quitting the Congress.

The leader attended the rally and spoke on the occasion though he was not formally invited.

After announcing his resignation from the Congress, Natwar Singh praised Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the achievements of her government, and said that the Congress had changed over the years.

"The Congress is not the same Congress that was nurtured by Gandhi and Nehru," he said.

The Congress suspended Natwar Singh in 2006 after a probe report on the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal indicted him for abusing his position in the party to secure oil coupons for his family members that were then ostensibly sold at a premium.

His son Jagat Singh, a legislator in Rajasthan, was also expelled from the Congress for anti-party activities in September 2006.

Natwar Singh, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1953, had joined the Congress in 1984 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bharatpur constituency in Rajasthan.