In a setback to the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, two of its senior leaders D Purandeswari and Jagdambika Pal on Friday resigned from the party. Both lashed out at the Congress leadership.
Purandeswari, a former union minister and Visakhapatnam MP, joined the BJP while Pal, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Domariyaganj MP, maintained that he was yet to decide his future course of action amid indications that he too would go to the saffron party fold.
Pal said he did not feel needed by the Congress in which outsiders were holding sway.
“Those who came from outside as tenants have become house owners while people like me have become tenants.. It seems that Congress does not need a person of my seniority,” he said in Lucknow hours after submitting his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar as also the Congress party in New Delhi.
Without naming Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Pal said he felt that “the emerging leadership of Congress perhaps does not require senior leaders like me who are not being able to communicate and give their views. Their suggestions are not being heard and they are not being given respect”.
This is not for the first time that Pal has left the Congress. In 1998, he along with the then party MLA Naresh Agarwal and others had led a split in the Congress to form the Loktantrik Congress Party and become a minister in the Kalyan Singh led BJP government. Later when the then Governor Ramesh Bhandari dismissed Kalyan Singh, Pal was sworn in as chief minister on February 21, 1998 and remained on the post till February 23, 1998 when the Allahabad High Court termed unconstitutional the dismissal of the Kalyan Singh government. Pal had remained in the Congress (Tiwari) earlier.
Purandeswari, daughter of TDP founder late NT Rama Rao, announced her decision to join the BJP at the residence of senior leader M Vankaiah Naidu. She said the Congress had completely ignored the interests of Seeamandhra while creating Telangana.
Earlier in the day, she had met senior BJP leader LK Advani. Naidu later said Purandeswari met the BJP veteran to seek his blessings.