Former Congress leader SM Krishna said on Sunday that Rahul Gandhi was an "extra-constitutional authority" in the government even when he was a "nobody" during the party's rule. Mr Krishna, who was the Minister of External Affairs between 2009-12 in the Congress led government, said due to a decision by Mr Gandhi, he was forced to quit his post. He also claimed that former prime minister Manmohan Singh had no say in the allocation of ministerial portfolios.
"I was external affairs minister for 3.5 years and Manmohan Singh had no say over that portfolio. Rahul Gandhi was then a nobody, not even a general secretary. He issued diktat that those who turned 80 can't be a minister. When I heard that, I submitted my resignation and came to Bangalore," Mr Krishna was quoted by news agency ANI as saying at an event in Karnataka's Maddur.
SM Krishna quit the Congress in 2017 after over 50 years of his association with the party. He joined the party's bitter rival, the BJP.
Mr Krishna claimed Mr Gandhi was not answerable to anyone in the government.
"There were matters that were never brought to the notice of even the ministers. The cabinet was in discussion over passing an ordinance. But Rahul Gandhi who was somewhere in public tore a copy of the ordinance to bits. This is what they call extra-constitutional authority. He (Rahul Gandhi) was not answerable to anyone," he added.
The Congress government had approved an executive order to protect politicians convicted of serious crimes from being evicted from parliament. In 2013, Mr Gandhi trashed the ordinance as "nonsense" and it was withdrawn by the cabinet.
Mr Krishna further said the reason for the alleged scams during the Congress rule was coalition politics.
"In my second tenure during UPA, I was minister for External Affairs. I was also part of the cabinet joint responsibility framework. It was not a conducive environment for governance. There was a coalition government and because of that nobody could say anything to the other about their conduct. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister but had no control over his Cabinet colleagues. It was during that period that scams broke out," he said.
Rahul Gandhi, son of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, became the Congress president in 2017. The opposition often makes piercing attacks on his party's "dynasty politics", alluding to a number of party presidents coming from Mr Gandhi's family.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a reference to the Congress's alleged "dynasty" in parliament.
"There are two periods in time as far as India is concerned -- BC and AD. BC stands for 'Before Congress', when nothing happened, and AD for 'After Dynasty', when everything happened," he said.
With inputs from ANI