At a time when Congress' cup of woes are already overflowing, this letter bomb from former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan will make the road tough for the party in coming days. And that is quite plausible because the man in question is none other than the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi himself.
Natarajan made a scathing attack on Gandhi scion who allegedly held a number of environment projects worth crores of rupees and had put the onus for the same on the Minister. Disenchanted with party 's working style, agonized former stalwart rued that she was 'dishonoured' without being given a chance to explain her side of the story.
Natarajan has sent a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, in which she has charged that she was "wrongly vilified" and "defamed" in the media by sections of the party.
Natarajan was made scapegoat?
The whole hush-hush affair happened in 2013 when as Minister in-charge she delayed environment projects worth Rs10 lakh crore. She was asked to resign from her post in December 2013 on the pretext of the reason that the party needed her service.
But what baffled her the most was that in this long duration from Dec 2013, when she was asked to resign, to till date when she has put her paper out of disenchantment, Minister was not given a single chance to explain her stand on the matter. Instead, she has been vilified for no fault at all and biggest proof of the matter is that she was considered loyal to the party and many a times she was appreciated by Prime Minister and even Sonia Gandhi herself.
But now she has spilled the beans and it can be concluded from her allegations that someone in Congress wanted to save his own skin and made her the scapegoat in this whole affair. As per her accusations, the projects that she stopped on party's instructions involved Vedanta, Nayamgiri, Nirma, Adani (specific input came from Rahul Gandhi's office in this case).
"I received specific requests (which used to be directives for us) from Shri Rahul Gandhi and his office forwarding environmental concerns in some important areas and I took care to honour those requests," Natarajan says in the letter.
According to a Indian Express report, total number of projects that received clearances in 2009 and 2010 add up to 1,474, which surprisingly dropped to 839 in the next two years. This hints that there must be something wrong at high level in Congress, where someone deliberately wanted to stop the projects for his/her own vested interests.
TN Congress is in disarray now
With this latest blow to Congress, party is really facing leadership crunch in the State which is the fiefdom of AIADMK and DMK. Natarajan is the second leader in Tamil Nadu to quit the party after G K Vasan who has already floated his own party. The Tamil Nadu unit of Congress is facing internal bickerings and the latest incident being the act of defiance by Karti Chidambaram, son of senior leader P Chidambaram, who refused to reply to a show cause notice issued to him by the state unit for his alleged anti-party remarks.
Already shaken Rahul Gandhi got another jolt
Congress has cried foul over the letter and refuted all the charges. Akhilesh Pratap Singh, spokesperson Congres said, "These are baseless allegations, people know what the Gandhi family stands for - corrupt free governance and vibrant internal democracy". Usually these days BJP got cornered by the Congress on many issues, but this time dynasty party is at wrong end of the stick. Natrajan has really set the cat among the pigeons.
Stepping up the ante, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Projects worth lakhs and lakhs of crores were held up for want of permissions. Today's letter conclusively establishes that it was not these statutory and mandatory considerations which weighed with the ruling party in the government, but what weighed with them was the whims of political leaders of the party as to who is to be granted an environmental permission and who is not to be granted an environmental permission. "
Though the truth is still to be confirmed but one thing is crystal clear that Rahul Gandhi whose confidence is already shaken with recent electoral defeats has much to answer. At a time when he was on the road to recover from massive setbacks, he was completely bulldozed by this green letter bomb. The old adage is apt in this condition that whatever you will sow, the same you will reap.
Congress facing tough time
It looks like nothing seems to be working for the party. At a time when Congress was trying to forget the worst nightmares - electoral defeats and recent upheaval within the party, Natrajan has really given a heat shock. Congress high command has been criticized recently by series of leaders for their high-handedness and pathetic leadership skills. And that included party stalwarts like Milind Deora, Digvijaya Singh and A K Antony. With the past records, Rahul Gandhi is apprehended as a leader who can unleash more harm than benefits to the party.
With this letter bomb, Congress is definitely on the back-foot once again.