Ghulam Nabi Azad, the latest high-profile exit from the Congress, today launched a scorching attack on his former colleague, Jairam Ramesh, accusing him of being a nobody in the party and whose only job is to "plant stories".
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister ended his five-decade association with the party on August 26 with a scathing critique of the Gandhis, mainly Rahul Gandhi.
Soon after the 73-year-old Ghulam Nabi Azad quit, Jairam Ramesh tweeted saying "GNA's DNA has been 'Modi-fied'", hinting that the veteran leader is set to join the party's principal rival, the BJP.
Responding to Mr Ramesh's tweet, Mr Azad said, "Earlier he used to plant stories against the government, against the opposition leaders. Now, he is planting stories against me. So many dirty stories."
"He is 24x7 doing all these planting of stories. He is very famous for planting stories, then and now. His job is this. That's why he has been made the media head," Mr Azad told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Not stopping there, the former party leader further questioned Jairam Ramesh's credentials, accusing him of only being adept at tweeting. "He sleeps with the laptop," he said.
"A person whose bio data in Congress party nobody knows. Nobody knows which state he comes from, which district. He was never in the youth Congress, NSUI, never in Congress block committee, district committee, state committee. All of a sudden by doing these tweets, we saw him becoming an MP, becoming a cabinet minister. He is the cabinet minister who would keep his phone on so that media people can listen in. That's the type of person he is," said Mr Azad, chucking more dirt.
Counterattacking, Jairam Ramesh asserted that Mr Azad is "diminishing himself further by giving interviews indiscriminately", adding "why stoop to his level".
"After such a long career, courtesy entirely the party he's been tasked to slander, by giving interviews indiscriminately, Mr. Azad diminishes himself further. What's he afraid of that he's justifying his treachery every minute? He can be easily exposed but why stoop to his level?" tweeted Mr Ramesh.
Mr Azad, a former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member, was among the party's tallest leaders and the Congress's face in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Azad was a leading member of the "G-23" or the group of 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 alleging a leadership drift and urging major reforms.
When he was honoured with a Padma Bhushan this year, many in the Congress said it was because of his proximity to the Prime Minister and the BJP.