Miffed at being asked not to attend a meeting held by party in-charge of the Haryana unit, Kamal Nath, in New Delhi, senior Congress leader and former minister Capt Ajay Yadav on Friday announced his decision to quit the Congress party. In an interview with Khushboo Sandhu, Yadav talks about being sidelined in the party.
Why did you decide to leave the Congress?
I have left the Congress with a heavy heart. I have given my prime youth and life for the Congress party. If I am humiliated and insulted, how can I tolerate it? After so many years if I don’t even feature in the top 10 of the party, then where is my future? I have no future in this party.
Kamal Nath says that he has 40 years of experience. I too have 30 years of experience. You get respect only when you give respect. I have been belittled in the party. At first, I was called for the meeting by Kamal Nath and then I was told to not go for it. After that, they made a criteria that they would only allow working presidents, former president and MPs for the meeting. I have been a CLP leader in the past. They made a criteria not to call former CLP leaders. What does he mean by that? I was brought in the party by the late Rajiv Gandhi. I still have respect for Soniaji and Rahul ji. They are being misled by Kamal Nath.
Have you submitted your resignation?
I have only announced that I am quitting Congress. I will send a letter soon. I am on my way to Ajmer and then Pushkar. I will come back late Friday evening.
Did you convey your displeasure at being asked not to attend the meeting?
I told Kamal Nath that if he does not let me attend the meeting, I will quit the party. But he did not inform that to the Congress President. He kept her in the dark. When he said I am not calling you tomorrow, I resigned from the executive committee. I gave my letter to him. I wrote a letter in name of Sonia Gandhi saying that I will work as a member of the party like a true soldier. He kept it with him. I don’t think he has informed madam. They feel that I am blackmailing them, but I am not. Last time I had resigned from the Cabinet. It is a fact that I am not taking back my resignation. I cannot meet Sonia Gandhi every time. She likes me a lot and has been very kind to me. I respect her a lot as she is the wife of my mentor, Rajiv Gandhi.
What happened during your meeting with party in-charge Kamal Nath?
I had met Kamal Nath along with my supporters a day before the meeting. Kamal Nath has always been calling me to meet with ordinary people. But, I told him that this was not done and wanted to meet him properly. I went with 40-50 people from Gurgaon and Mewat areas. He was showing me cuttings given by Hooda. I said first you see my cuttings. I have taken time from you and you should listen to me.
I showed him all the cuttings where they [Hooda camp] talked against a CLP leader and HPCC president. They had burnt my effigy. There were cuttings on how Bhupinder Hooda cast his vote bank in Rajya Sabha elections. I said that the returning officer was from his constituency who was given three promotions. I told Kamal Nath that I had no doubt that he was involved in this whole episode. I also told him that the government from 2005 to 2014 was a government of property dealers. I have written several letters to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi informing her that this man [Hooda] is destroying the party. For example, he always referred to the state government as Hooda government instead of the Congress government. He wanted to portray himself as Chotu Ram. How can he become Chotu Ram? This man has no vision.
What is the reason for your differences with B S Hooda?
In 2007 when I had gone to Sirsa and one of the reporters had asked me what I would do for the state as finance minister, I said I would go to Gujarat and see why the growth rate there is nine percent, while in Haryana it is two percent. Hooda made an issue out of this and got stories planted in all papers. I was portrayed as a well-wisher of Modi. I tried to rebut myself. I was reprimanded by the Congress President. I told her that I had started as the youth Congress president. My father was a congressman. I am a congressman. Why will I go towards BJP? I have a future in the Congress. After my explanation to her, she had understood and my portfolio was not changed.
Thereafter, Hooda told Sonia Gandhi that either he would stay in party or me. This is what Ahmed Patel had told me. Sonia Gandhi, then, had told Hooda to not drop me but change my portfolio. That’s when I was given Power department, environment and forest which had not much work in Haryana.
What are your future plans?
I can’t force my son to leave the party. If he wants to stay in the Congress, I don’t mind. I will tour the state, meet my supporters and take their views. I will then take the next step.
Are you planning to join any other party?
There is no question of joining any other party. I was offered a ticket by Ram Bilas Sharma during the Assembly elections which I refused. How could I leave a party that has given me name, fame and everything else that I have achieved in life? While I have always remained on top in the Congress party, Kamal Nath says I don’t even feature in the top 10. I have no future in the Congress party. If I am indisciplined, then so were Kuldeep Sharma and Karan Dayal. Why was Kuldeep Sharma called to the meeting? You cannot have two yardsticks.