Expressing shock and surprise over the resignation letter sent by veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday called the former ‘insensitive’ for writing the letter at a time when she has gone to America for a medical check-up.
Gehlot called Azad a sycophant of Sanjay Gandhi, who according to him was given all major portfolios.
Speaking to the media, the Rajasthan Chief Minister said, “Those (Ghulam Nabi) calling others sycophants were themselves called sycophants in those days. In fact, those who were with Sanjay Gandhi, including Ghulam Nabi Azad were called sycophants. However, Sanjay Gandhi didn’t bother about them being called sycophants. Azad became such a great leader. At that time many leaders used to say that Sanjay Gandhi was surrounded by sycophants. If Sanjay Gandhi had removed him under pressure at that time, then the people of the country would not know the name of Ghulam Nabi Azad.”
Azad in his letter has mentioned about the ‘sycophants’ ruling the Congress in the present times.
He said, “All senior and experienced Congress leaders were sidelined and new coterie of inexperienced sycophants started running the affairs of the party.”
Gehlot added, “Sanjay Gandhi did not listen to many people. Many other leaders and Ghulam Nabi Azad are his products. Sanjay Gandhi was in Youth Congress. Then he was accused of becoming an extra constitutional authority. The products of that time went ahead and reached big positions as the Chief Minister, Minister, Union Minister and party organisation. Ninety per cent of the posts were attained by those leaders who were with Sanjay Gandhi.”
The Rajasthan Chief Minister said, “Ghulam Nabi Azad has been very close to Sanjay Gandhi. At that time, like me, the views of many leaders of the country did not match with Sanjay Gandhi, they were opponents. Still I became an MP. Got opportunities in many positions. Long story, politics goes on.”
“Azad has been my friend. He was in the party for 42 years. Indira Gandhi went to Ghulam Nabi Azad’s wedding with Sanjay Gandhi. She wanted to take forward the young Azad. The Congress did not stop short of giving Azad an opportunity, ” he added.
Azad, who did hold senior posts like State Congress President, Chief Minister, Union Minister, National General Secretary for 42 years, was not expected to write such a letter on Friday, Gehlot said.
“I am very shocked, I cannot express in which words I should comment on his today’s letter because 42 years we were together and the party gave him many chances. No one in the country expected Azad Saheb to write such a letter.”
The Rajasthan Chief Minister also questioned Azad’s timing of writing this letter and said, “Earlier when Sonia Gandhi ji was ill, then he wrote the letter. At that time, people took it otherwise. Now when she has gone to America for a check-up, what message do you want to convey by writing a letter at this time.”
“Our beloved leader (Sonia Gandhi) who came into politics due to our pressure, one who did not want to come in politics, one whom we all pressurised again and again saying that If Congress survives, it will survive with your name, otherwise Congress will be “scattered”. I am saying this thing about 1996, I am talking about when Sitaram Kesari ji became the party’s national President, even then people started disintegrating like today, you tell that since that time till today, Sonia ji has saved Congress. Today she has gone to America for a check-up and you are sharing the letter, I understand that it is against human nature and human sensitivity,” Gehlot added.