Ashwani Kumar I PTI
New Delhi: Soon after submitting his resignation from the Congress, former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on Tuesday said that the Congress doesn't have a transformative and inspiring leadership, and it is not the party it once was.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, the former Union Law Minister said, "We don't have a transformative and inspiring leadership to lead the party. I have neither quit politics nor public service. I will continue to discharge my obligations to the nation as best as I can."
"We have continued hoping that the party will mend its ways and correctives will be applied, but that was not forthcoming. Some have left a little earlier, some have left a little later. It is a painful decision, therefore without blaming any individual, because I do not need to do that- it is crystal clear; Congress is not the party it once was," he added.
Terming the decision as a "painful" one, Kumar said that he has thought long and hard for it and realised that the way the internal processes of the Congress are in place today, he could not continue any longer, consistent with his dignity and self-esteem.
"I thought my shoulders weren't strong enough to carry the weight of indifference. I, therefore, decided that indifference to my obligation to my own sense of dignity, I should severe my 46-year-old association with the Congress party," he said.
"While one is a member of the party, one is constrained by many circumstances in terms of freedom of speech for political action. I no longer wanted to be constrained by the inherent inhabitations by being a party man, yet, not able to contribute effectively in service of public causes that are dear to me. So I did not want to suffer double jeopardy," he told ANI.
When ANI asked Kumar about the picture in the room with Rajiv Gandhi, the veteran leader said that it was the former Prime Minister who brought him to politics. "The party gave me a lot. I respect Sonia Gandhi and wish her good health," he said.
He declined to comment on joining any political party in the coming days.
"There are many avenues open; it is not the matter of political parties, it is the matter of public space that is available to a thinking person. And I know there are a number of ways that I can continue to be of relevance to the affairs of my country," Kumar said.
Ashwani Kumar was a part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) term two government's cabinet. Currently, he was not holding any main profile in the Congress party and did not have a post in the AICC.
He was elected from the Rajya Sabha and is considered close to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. ANI