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Home > India > News > PTI

Cong MP quits party, blames Rahul's coterie

May 06, 2008 12:20 IST
Last Updated: May 06, 2008 14:53 IST

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In a jolt to the Congress, its senior 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.

"I have no faith in the Congress party," he said in the House, taking everybody by surprise. Later, he told reporters outside Parliament that he had also sent his resignation letter to party president Sonia Gandhi [Images] and was feeling "relaxed and relieved now."

Attacking Rahul Gandhi, he said, "There was a coterie surrounding the yuvraj (prince) and if the coterie was not happy with somebody, then that person had to suffer."

On the reasons behind his move, Das said, "I believe there is a caucus which is doing all this. There is a power coterie. It has surrounded Rahulji and it is unfortunate that only the coterie has access to him."
The son of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Banarsi Das, he was the minister of state for steel before last month's Cabinet reshuffle. Das's term as a member of Parliament was to expire soon.

"There is a power coterie within and there is an unconstitutional power coterie. They don't have any knowledge and they are not Congressmen and they are all surrounding the yuvraj (Rahul Gandhi) of the Congress party," Das said.
Targeting Rahul Gandhi, he said, "He is in charge of the country... He is only the general secretary of the Youth Congress and National Students Union of India, but he is controlling the entire Congress party and he is controlling the entire nation.
If he is not happy with you and his coterie is not happy with you, you cannot be in the party, you cannot be welcomed in the party."

Das alleged that "all the decisions in the party are being taken by the coterie and it is the coterie that is deciding the fate of Congress party and nation."

Claiming that there were many more dissatisfied people in the Congress, Das said, "They don't have courage, but I can say that.... I am a democratic man, I am not a member of a coterie."
Insisting that he was not upset because he was dropped from the Union Council, Das said he had been airing his dissatisfaction at party fora for the last year. "I have told (this) to the Congress president" at various times, he said.
On his future course of action, he said he would decide it after consulting his supporters in Lucknow.
Earlier, in the Rajya Sabha, Ansari did not accept Das's letter and asked the member to go back to his seat, saying he had to make obituary references.

Das then turned to the secretary general and left the letter with him before walking out of the House.

Das said Uttar Pradesh has always been at the centre of Congress politics, but now the state too is being viewed through the "vision of this coterie".

He also questioned the appointment of Rita Bahuguna Joshi as the president of the party's state unit, describing her as a "daughter" of Uttaranchal.

Das said Joshi had re-joined the Congress after being a member of several political outfits, including the Samajwadi Party, and had even lost all elections she has contested.

"How can a person who has never won an assembly or Parliamentary election and forfeited her deposit judge the eligibility of people keen to contest elections," Das said in a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

He also accused a close aide of Rahul Gandhi for seeking favours for his family members.

Das claimed that the Centre had not sanctioned any funds for development projects for Uttar Pradesh despite repeated demands from the state government.

"The projects the Centre has listed for the state exist only on paper... The Centre has completely ignored Uttar Pradesh so far development of the state is concerned," he said.

Das attacked the government for its "inability" to control rising prices, which have affected the people of the state.

"The Centre and the Congress party continues to ignore the state when it comes to investments which has led to resentment among the masses," he said.

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