In a major political development, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the Congress on Friday after launching a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi in his five-page resignation letter.
While the two leaders have had run-ins in the past as well, Azad had been close to party chief Sonia Gandhi who listened to his advice. However, after Rahul Gandhi started taking decision directly, Azad felt sidelined in the party with the latest grudge being Azad not being consulted for the elections to pick the next Congress President.
In June, Sonia Gandhi had offered the No. 2 position in the party, but Azad had declined. Sources said that Azad thought that he may become the No. 2 in the party, but it will be Rahul Gandhi who will call the shots.
Azad's relation with Rahul Gandhi has not been cordial since Azad was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (2014 to 2021), during which he took stands contrary to the Congress in the House.
Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised Azad during his speech at the latter's farewell, while the Padma Bhushan award for Azad that followed made things worse.
Following Azad's resignation from the party, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "A man who has been treated with the greatest respect by the Congress leadership has betrayed it by his vicious personal attacks, which reveals his true character. GNA's DNA has been modi-fied."
During his last meeting with Rahul Gandhi, sources close to Azad said that he was not given the respect which Sonia Gandhi gave him, while Rahul even reportedly called him by his first name.
However, their relationship worsened after Azad was reportedly denied a Rajya Sabha seat after assurance, as Rahul Gandhi vetoed it.
Azad in his resignation letter accused the CWC members of humiliating him after the G-23 leaders wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi.
"The only crime committed by the 23 senior leaders who wrote that letter out of concern for the party is that they pointed out both the reasons for the weaknesses in the party and the remedies thereof. Unfortunately, instead of taking those views on board in a constructive and cooperative manner, we were abused, humiliated, insulted and vilified in an specially summoned meeting of the extended CWC meeting," he said.
"In the August of 2020 when me and 22 other senior colleagues, including former Union ministers and Chief Ministers, wrote to you to flag the abysmal drift in the party, the 'coterie' chose to unleash its sycophants on us and got us attacked, vilified and humiliated in the most crude manner possible," he added in the letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi.
The veteran leader alleged that on the directions of the coterie that runs the AICC today, his mock funeral procession was taken out in Jammu and those who committed this indiscipline were feted in Delhi by the general secretaries of the AICC and Rahul Gandhi personally.