On Tuesday, Ashwani Kumar, a former Union minister, announced his departure from the Congress party. Kumar said in a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he “concluded that, in the current circumstances and consistent with my dignity, I can best serve larger national causes outside the party fold.”
Kumar’s departure from the Congress is the latest in a string of defections from the party, and it comes as multiple states prepare to hold assembly elections.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, Jitin Prasada, and RPN Singh are among the Congress members who have defected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in recent years (BJP). Kumar was rumoured to be considering doing the same.
Kumar mentioned his 46-year relationship with the Congress. “Proactively pursue public causes inspired by the idea of transformative leadership, based on the dignitarian promise of a liberal democracy envisioned by our freedom fighters,” he added. He thanked Gandhi for her previous “considerations” and wished her good health.
When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was accused of corruption, Kumar was the law minister. His attempt to vet a Central Bureau of Investigation report on the coal block allocation scandal, which was being investigated under Supreme Court supervision, sparked outrage and led to his resignation as minister. He was later appointed as Japan’s special envoy.
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