Natwar Singh quits Congress

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{image-Natwar singh1_13022008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Jaipur, Feb 13: One and a half years after being suspended from the Congress, senior leader and former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh today quit the party and announced to campaign against it in the next general and Rajasthan assembly elections.

Mr Singh announced his decision to quit the Congress at a Jat rally held here to mark Raja Suraj Mall's tercentenary celebrations here. Mr Singh was suspended on August 8, 2006 after Justice Pathak Inquiry Authority indicted him in the Iraqi oil-for-food programme scam. Mr Singh, who shared the podium with Rajasthan Chief Ministrer Vasundhara Raje and several other prominent BJP leaders, also hinted at his move to join the BJP.

Mr Singh said he was weighing his options, including the joining of the BJP, and would make an announcement to that effect at appropriate time.

However, he made it clear that he would campaign against the Congress in the next assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Justifying his move, Mr Singh said the Congress no longer had been carrying the same legacy which was its heritage during the Gandhi-Nehru era.

This was the reason that the party was constantly losing its support base and strength and facing electoral drubbings in various states.

Mr Singh clarified that he had not committed any wrong in the scam and he was falsely implicated in the matter. Mr Singh praised Chief Minister Raje and her working style and recalled his old ties with the erstwhile Gwalior Royal family. Mr Singh's son and expelled Congress MLA Jagat Singh also participated in the rally which was organised by Maharaja Suraj Mall Memorial Foundation presently being run by BJP-inclined Jat leaders.

Ms Raje, who was the chief guest at the rally, announced installation of Maharaja Suraj Mal's statue in Bharatpur.

She also declared that an engineering college would also be named after the great Jat ruler. Besides this, she announced grant of Rs 1 crore for renovation of the palace of Maharaja Suraj Mall's queen to make it attractive for tourists.

Industries Minister Digambar Singh and several Jat leaders also spoke on the occasion.

UNI

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