The Congress has been struggling to steady its ship ever since the Lok Sabha election drubbing, with leaders at various levels deserting the party and switching sides. Predictably, the grand old party is facing an uphill task ahead of forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, as BJP makes advances in the campaign and is attracting defectors from several regional and national parties.
The infighting within the top echelons in the party is out in the open as several leaders who have left the grand old party have cited differences with the senior leadership in New Delhi.
The most recent name in the list of Congress deserters is that of former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who resigned from the primary membership of the party on Saturday. Putting in his papers, Tanwar said, “Congress is going through existential crises, not because of its political opponents but because of serious internal contradiction.”
Here is a list of Congress leaders who have quit since the Lok Sabha election results
- Harshvardhan Patil: Former minister and senior Maharashtra Congress leader Harshvardhan Patil quit the Congress and joined the BJP in September. A four-time MLA from Indapur assembly seat in Pune, Patil was reportedly upset after the NCP expressed unwillingness to cede the seat to the grand old party in the upcoming assembly elections. He had contested as an independent candidate from Indapur in 1995, 1999 and 2004.
- Pradyot Debbarma: Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma announced his resignation from the Congress in September. The resignation came a week after he met the party high command. His resignation comes close on the heels of a controversy regarding his stand on NRC revision in Tripura. Pradyot, who is the royal scion of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty, had filed a petition with the Supreme Court on October 22 last year seeking NRC revision in the state.
- Urmila Matondkar: Actor turned politician Urmila Matondkar left Congress in September, five months after she joined the grand old party. The Bollywood actor blamed “vested interests in the party…and petty in-house politics,” as reasons behind quitting the party. In a statement issued regarding her decision to quit the party, Matondkar mentioned about her May 16 letter to then Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora in which she had sought action against the aides of senior party leader Sanjay Nirupam for misconduct. Matondkar alleged the party took no action despite her repeated efforts. “First thought of resignation came to me when after my repeated efforts, no action was taken in pursuance of my letter dated 16th May, addressed to then Mumbai Congress President Mr Milind Deora,” she said in a statement.
- Kripashankar Singh: Former Mumbai Congress president and former minister Kripashankar Singh, who had held the fort for the party in Kalina over the years, quit in September. Singh, a three-term MLA, left citing differences with the party on Article 370. However, there have been speculations about Singh joining the BJP.
Meanwhile, several senior leaders had resigned from their posts in the party following the defeat in Parliamentary polls. These include Jyotiraditya Scindhia, Milind Deora, Harish Rawat, Raj Babbar among others.