New Delhi: The irresistible offer of the Rajya Sabha seat is the main cause of exodus from Congress, sources say as leaders consider the place of the other parties’ upper house and the recent resignation of former justice minister Ashwani Kumar sparked a debate in the big old party. .
Ashwani Kumar, a senior Congress official and three-time Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister, has quit the party as sources point out he may join a party that could send him to the upper house of parliament. Congressman Manish Tewari, a former Union minister, spoke more candidly at a press conference in Ludhiana on Wednesday where he said: “Anyone leaving the party is a setback and the resignation of Ashwani Kumar is unfortunate, but ambition for a place in Rajya Sabha forces people to do several things.”
Tewari, a leader of the G-23 group was criticized by Kumar for speaking out in favor of party reforms, but he said that after Kumar’s resignation “we had vigorous differences of opinion but in a civilized way . Too bad Ashwani Kumar felt compelled to take this call,” Tewari had tweeted.
Kumar is not the only case. Former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Falerio, who was the main Congress leader, left the party and joined the TMC. Same with Sushmita Dev, former leader of the women’s wing of the Congress, also left the party and joined the Trinamool Congress later. Both were appointed to the Rajya Sabha. Bhubaneswar Kalita had also left Congress and later landed in the BJP upper house.
Jyotiraditya Scindia had left the party and joined the BJP. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha and appointed as a minister. Similarly, Jitin Prasada left Congress to join the BJP and he is now a minister in the government of Uttar Pradesh. RPN Singh’s recent high-profile exit to BJP is linked by some to Rajya Sabha’s place.
The reduced strength of the big old party is the reason because the Congress could not send more representatives to the Council of States, from the state like the UP where the party has only one deputy. Punjab has 7 spots and the fight is intense as Sunil Jakhar and many others are party contenders. Ambika Soni, Shamsher Singh and Partap Singh Bajwa are the seated members.