NEW DELHI/JAMMU: In a major jolt to the Congress after its debacle in five states, senior party leader Karan Singh’s son Vikramaditya announced resignation from the grand old party on Tuesday.
In his resignation letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, Vikramaditya said, “It is my belief that Congress is unable to realise and reflect the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Vikramaditya is the grandson of former Jammu & Kashmir ruler Maharaja Hari Singh who signed the Instrument of Accession with the Union of India in 1947. Karan Singh is considered a loyalist of the Gandhi family and shares a very good bond with them.
“Congress remains disconnected with ground realities,” said the 57-year-old, who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Udhampur constituency on a Congress ticket. He was earlier with the People’s Democratic Party.
“Congress was unable to make the necessary organisational and other changes to keep up with the emerging scenarios not only in J&K but also at the national level,” he told newsmen in Jammu.
Vikramaditya’s resignation comes in wake of several desertions ahead of crucial assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh with most of them saying that the party had lost connect with the masses.
Senior Congress leaders like RPN Singh, Jitin Prasada, Sushmita Dev, former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijeet Mukherjee have left the party last year. In 2020, Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Jyotiraditya Scindia also left the Congress, which cost the party its government in Madhya Pradesh.
In 2020, many senior Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma, now popularly known G-23, had written to Sonia Gandhi two years ago, demanding sweeping changes in the Congress including organisational elections and an active leadership to take on the BJP.
As many as 18 leaders of the group met at the residence of Azad in New Delhi last week, days after the party’s highest decision-making body – the Congress Working Committee (CWC) – reviewed the party’s poll performance, and demanded a “collective and inclusive leadership”.
The meeting of the dissident group was attended by senior Congress leaders like Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar, Prithviraj Chavan, Manishankar Aiyer, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Shankar Singh Vaghela, MA Khan, Sandeep Dikshit, Vivek Tankha, PJ Kurian, Kuldeep Sharma and Preneet Kaur.
A few days later, Hooda met Rahul Gandhi while Azad met Sonia Gandhi.
“We following members of the Congress met deliberate on the demoralizing outcome of the recent results of the assembly elections and the constant exodus of both our workers and leaders. We believe that the only way forward is for the Congress to adopt the model of collective, inclusive leadership and decision making at all levels,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
They said that it was necessary to strengthen Congress to take on the BJP and demanded that talks be held with “like-minded forces to create a platform to pave the way for a credible alternative for 2024”.
Following the crushing defeat in the assembly elections, Sonia Gandhi asked for resignation of all state unit chiefs and also formed a team comprising of Ajay Maken, Rajani Patil, Jitendra Singh, Jairam Ramesh and Avinash Pandey to assess the reason for defeat.