Chennai, Jan 30: In a huge blow to the Congress, former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has decided to quit the party while making a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi and accusing him of sending "specific requests" on environmental clearances for projects.
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.
"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.
Natarajan charged that she had become a victim of a "vicious, false and motivated" media campaign by some individuals in the party after Rahul Gandhi shifted from his 'pro-environmental stance' to a 'corporate friendly' one during campaigning for Lok Sabha polls. The letter published in a daily said the Minister was asked to resign in less than 100 days before the country went to general elections.
The four-time Congress MP's decision has added to the overflowing cup of woes of the Congress and triggered a barage of attack by BJP leaders on the style of governance of the UPA regime. Natarajan is the second leader in Tamil Nadu to quit the party after G K Vasan who has already floated a party.
The Tamil Nadu unit of the 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.