Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Kishore Chandra Deo on Sunday resigned from the Congress saying he can’t simply sit and watch when the party is being “liquidated” and brought to a “nought” in his home state of Andhra Pradesh by “four-five people”. Deo, who resigned as chairman of the party’s ST wing last week, said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had not even given him time to meet since November.
A six-time MP, a former member of the Congress Working Committee and a former AICC general secretary, Deo said he felt he was “unwanted” in the Congress and saw no “relevance” in his staying in the party. His decision comes days after AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Oommen Chandy announced that the party will go alone in the state in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Deo said the party “doesn’t exist” in Andhra. “For the last four years, the party has been in a paralysis state, almost in coma,” he told The Indian Express.
“In the last 4-5 months, people who are in charge are doing everything they can to see that the party is completely liquidated. This is not something which has come suddenly. I have waited for four-and-a-half years patiently that they will do something for the party. I have apprised the high command, written a note to them. When Chandy came as general secretary, I thought he will do something. But unfortunately he has also fallen into the trap of that four-five people who actually have no political base but are controlling the party in Andhra.”
Asked to identify the four-five people, he said, “One person calls himself the political advisor to the Congress president for Andhra… (The others are) the in-charge general secretary, the PCC president and one or two Rajya Sabha MPs. Today the party’s flag, symbol everything have been erased. In Andhra, we are non-existent… Rahul Gandhi has taken a stand that the party will go for alliances in different states. Then these fellows, the PCC president and others said no alliance.”
“They said we will fight in all the 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats alone. If you do that, there will be a repeat of what happened in 2014. The party will be buried for ever. I was told these 200 people (who lost in 2014) will become the soldiers for the Congress and revive the party. What happened to the 200 soldiers of 2014? How many are left in the party? These are all absurd and whimsical theories,” Deo said.
“We are in February now. From November, I have been seeking time to meet the Congress president. Of course, I appreciate the fact that he was busy with election campaigning. But I am sure that within that hectic schedule several people met him,” said Deo, who was a minister in the UPA government.
Deo said he will not join the BJP or any party which is in alliance with the BJP or sympathetic to the BJP. “I will meet my colleagues and friends from other, non-BJP parties. I have known them for long… I will talk to Sharad Yadav, I will talk to Sharad Pawar, I will talk to the Trinamool Congress people. All of them are my friends. The DMK, CPI… After that, I will take a decision. Leaving the Congress has been a painful decision,” he said.
Deo said that after he resigned from the post of chairman of the Adivasi Congress, he got a call from Rahul’s office Saturday informing him that his resignation letter had not been accepted. “I told them tomorrow you will get another letter.”
“The only reason for my resignation is that what will I do, my party is not visible in Andhra Pradesh. I will not contest for Parliament… but my staying in this party, if I am not even heard, if my views are not taken into consideration… that means I am unwanted. What will I do staying?… I have always been in central politics. I have never been an MLA or in state politics. But this is my state and this is my base. And my party does not exist here and if my party does not listen to me… they don’t need to implement everything… but at least acknowledge.”
He also called “whimsical” the Congress’s decision to align with the TDP in Telangana in the last Assembly elections and to go alone now. “These advisors seem to have told the high command that we went with the TDP and we lost. So if we go with the TDP, we will lose here also. But it is the other way around. I am not saying the TDP, have an alliance with somebody. If you did not want to have an alliance, then for the last four years you should not have kept quiet and let the party go down the drain. Now how will you contest? Last four years nobody listened.”