Barely 15 days before elections in Haryana, the Congress was left stunned Saturday after its former state chief Ashok Tanwar quit the party, calling it an “anti-thesis of democracy” and “plagued by feudal attitudes and medieval conspiracies”.
Ending his nearly three-decade association with the Congress, Tanwar, who made his October 4 resignation public, also accused former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state party in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad of “hatching conspiracies”.
In his letter, he also said, “Congressmen who rise from the grassroots and belong to non-political and humble family backgrounds are not valued. Money, blackmail and pressure tactics seem to work in the end.” “Today, the Indian National Congress is going through an existential crisis, not because of its political opponents but because of serious internal contradictions.”
Tanwar’s rift with the Congress had widened in June after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha polls – it won none of Haryana’s 10 seats. Then, at a state coordination committee meeting, Tanwar had said: “Mere ko agar khatam karna hai, toh mujhe goli maar do (If you want to finish me, then just shoot me).”
Levelling serious allegations against the party in his letter, Tanwar said, “My experience of last few years has been that democracy in the party is being killed by selfish interests of a few lobbies. Devoted people like me are not allowed to work with full freedom. Obstacles are created every day at every stage to weaken those who are given responsibilities by the high command, only to prove that the party is the personal fiefdom of some rich and powerful individuals.”
“I believe that it is very difficult for anyone with self-respect to work under such circumstances, when you aren’t allowed to discharge your duties on the one hand, while on the other hand you have to take responsibility for all the failures and misdeeds of others.”
Tanwar also called himself a victim “of prejudices that are aimed at defending dynastic politics, which is so deep-rooted and omnipresent in Congress party”. “In the last few years numerous conspiracies are being hatched to eliminate those young leaders who have been groomed by Shri Rahul Gandhi in the last one-and-half-decade… strange attempts of social engineering by some influential people made the Congress lose its credibility as the party of all communities. Within the party, the workers were forced to be divided on the colours of their turbans.”
Accusing Hooda and Azad of playing a major role in the selection of candidates for the October 21 assembly elections, Tanwar said the leaders created hurdles and did not allow the organisation to function.
“…but unfortunately personal allegiances and fixing with Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and others have been the top criteria for selection of candidates in most cases. Senior leaders like Capt Ajay Yadav have also rightly pointed out that tickets were given to defectors and non-Congressmen,” he said.
Calling his decision to quit a “fight against the system”, Tanwar said in his resignation, “… after several months of consideration, (I) tender my resignation from the primary membership of the Congress party, which I nurtured with my sweat and blood. My fight is not personal but against the system which is destroying the grand old party i.e. Indian National Congress.”