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Home > India > News > Interview

The Rediff Interview/Congress leader Akhilesh Das

Inner coterie takes all the decisions in Congress: Akhilesh Das

May 06, 2008


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Senior Congress leader Akhilesh Das, who was recently dropped from the Union Council of Ministers, on Tuesday resigned from the party as well as the Rajya Sabha after blaming the "coterie" around Rahul Gandhi [Images].
 
Das, who represented Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, made the dramatic move in the Upper House, walking up to Chairman Hamid Ansari and handing over his resignation letter as soon as the House met. Shortly afterwards, Das spoke to rediff.com's P Krishnakumar about his move.

Only recently were you dropped from the ministry. What is the reason for you to quit now on the last day of the session?

There is nothing significant about quitting today. It was not like today was the last day of the session and I decided to quit in this dramatic fashion. It is a well-thought out decision. It was not made in a hurry.

Did you try to speak to the party leadership and settle your differences before you took the decision?

I did. On several occasions I met the general secretary in charge and senior office bearers of the party. Unfortunately, they were not in a position to take any decisions. Because again, these people who form an inner coterie around the high command are hand-picked and it is this coterie that takes all decisions within the party. So, I very soon understood that despite airing my grievance to the office bearers, nothing would come of it. The coterie will prevail and this process of talking it out with the party office bearers is just an eye-wash.

Are you upset about being dropped from the ministry? Is that the reason for you quitting the party?

Not at all. It is not a reason. The moment I was inducted into the Cabinet, I knew that one day I would have to quit that office. If the Congress president or the prime minister had chucked me out, I would have had no complaints. But the decision regarding all removals and additions again was made by the coterie. That is what bothered me.

What will be your future course of action?

I haven't decided on anything. I will go back to Lucknow and speak to my friends and well wishers as well as party workers. My decision will be based on what they say.

There is talk that you may join the Bahujan Samaj Party?

I cannot answer this now. As I told you, I will speak to my well wishers before I take a decision.

While criticising the cement industry for increasing prices, the finance minister had said that even the steel industry to an extent was behaving like a cartel and the government is looking at measures to crack down on these. As a former minister who handled the portfolio, what do you have to say about this?

I am not the person to answer this question.

Photo courtesy: Rajya Sabha


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