Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar denied that he was going to BJP.
Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar today quit the Congress, his party of over 40 years, saying, "there comes a time when you can't take anymore." He also said he sees the Congress going downhill in the "foreseeable future".
The Congress, he said, didn't seem to be reflecting the mood of the nation. Its projected leader is not acceptable to people either, Ashwani Kumar added, not naming Rahul Gandhi.
"Repeatedly this question is asked, if the people are not happy with the Prime Minister, why is the Congress not voted in? Precisely because the alternative that we are offering is not acceptable to the people. And this is one factor that is beyond discussion in the party," the 69-year-old leader remarked.
Ashwani Kumar, who was Law Minister in the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government, said in his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi that the decision was "consistent with my dignity". He also spoke about pursuing public causes inspired by the idea of "transformative leadership".
He denied that he was going to the BJP like the others before him.
"I have not given it a thought. I have not met anyone in the BJP. I would like to categorically state that there is no decision as yet. I may not even join any party," Ashwani Kumar said, adding that he felt no hurry to decide.
Dr Kumar is one of the most senior leaders to quit the Congress in the past few years.
More Congress veterans feel the same, he said.
"They are dejected, they are oppressed, they feel diminished, they feel humiliated. But who has the strength to walk out and chart his own course, only time will tell," Dr Kumar said.
The former minister, who is considered close to two-time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said he never consulted anyone on the decision.
He also denied that he resented being left out of the list of star campaigners in Punjab, where elections take place this Sunday. "Apart from Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, is even Manmohan Singh a star campaigner?" he questioned.
Dr Kumar went on to shred the party leadership's handling of the Punjab Congress tussle. The kind of leadership being projected in Punjab "is the worst in the last 40 years", he said.
"The manner in which Amarinder Singh was humiliated into resigning has not left a good impression of the Congress, either in Punjab or the rest of the country. I was never in Amarinder Singh's inner circle but I resent and condemn the way he was humiliated into resigning," he said.
Explaining his decision to quit his party of over 40 years in the middle of elections, Dr Kumar said: "I believe there comes a time when you can't take it anymore. I was having sleepless nights for several days. I thought to myself, at this stage in my life, should I not rise in my own estimation? What I am I sticking here for if I feel so uncomfortable? I think the time has come for calling a spade a spade and to take difficult decisions."
He had a recommendation for the Congress. "The need of the hour today is for individual leaders to rise above their vanities and egos, ambitions and aspirations. There are so many issues on which we need a bipartisan approach," he said.