Jagdambika Pal quits, says no respect for seniors in Congress

Senior Congress Leader jagdambika Pal hold a Press conference after resign from Congress at his residence in Lucknow on Friday.(Express photo: Vishal Srivastav) Senior Congress Leader Jagdambika Pal hold a Press conference after resign from Congress at his residence in Lucknow on Friday.(Express photo: Vishal Srivastav)

In a setback to the Congress, party MP Jagdambika Pal, 63, resigned from Lok Sabha membership and party’s primary membership Friday, blaming the “new generation of power” in the party and “lack of access to the leadership”. 

Pal’s resignation comes days after he publicly said he felt “humiliated” by the party and accused the Congress leadership of not giving him due importance. “I met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Saturday and tendered my resignation,” Pal said. In more trouble to the Congress high command, Pal also indicated there are other MPs from UP who are not satisfied with the emerging leadership in the party, which, according to him, “does not value old lieutenants of the party”.

“A new generation of power and pelf-seekers are now dominating the affairs of the party with the result that people like us, who are the grassroots workers, have no access to the leadership” Pal has written in his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday.

“There is a serious lack of communication and virtual absence of respect for old timers like me in the party. I find myself totally out of sync with this new dispensation,” he wrote. He also went on to say how he had supported Indira Gandhi in “difficult times”. “During the times of Indira Gandhi, your illustrious mother-in-law, I have faced lathis and all sort of hardships but never ever flinched in my loyalty,” wrote Pal.

Hinting at Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, Pal said there were certain “tenants” who were made “house-owners”. Pal mentioned there are other leaders in the party who feel like him. “I am not the only one, there are other leaders , who feel in a similar manner and are hurt with the lack of communication.”

Though he has not taken any name, his statement is significant in the light of doubts being raised within the party about repeating candidature of two other sitting MPs in Eastern Uttar Pradesh — Harsha Vardhan from Maharajganj and Vinay Kumar Pandey from Shravasti.

Pal said he would contest the Lok Sabha elections from Domariyaganj and is in talks with more than one political party.

There is speculation about him joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose government he had saved in 1997 by defecting from Congress along with 21 other leaders to form Loktantrik Congress party. After BSP had withdrawn support from Kalyan Singh-led government in UP in 1997, it was the Loktantrik Congress, led by Pal and Naresh Agarwal, which had extended support.

According to sources, he may not have many supporters in the BJP as in 1998, he, as a Loktantrik Congress leader had parted ways with the Kalyan Singh government, alleging “communalism.”

The Kalyan Singh …continued »