Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 30:
Ending all speculation, veteran Congress leader and former chief minister of Odisha Giridhar Gamang today announced his resignation from the primary membership of the party.
“I announce my resignation from the primary membership of the Congress with immediate effect. I have taken the decision as I have been repeatedly humiliated and insulted by the party leadership,” he told media persons here.
Gamang said he had faxed his resignation letter to party president Sonia Gandhi.
“I have done nothing wrong. I want to be free. There is no question of returning to the Congress again once I have taken the decision,” Gamang said.
The former Union minister said he had voted against the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government during a no-confidence motion in Parliament on April 17, 1999 while he was Chief Minister as per the party diktat, but he was left to carry the can.
The veteran politician made it clear that he had not quit the Congress to join any other party.
Asked to comment on reports of j]his joining BJP, the nine-time MP from Koraput quipped; “Why would a party whose Prime Minister was unseated by a vote cast by me take me into its fold?”
Reacting to Gamang’s resignation, PCC president Prasad Harichandan said it was a decision taken under ‘pressure’.
“It would become clear in the coming days who exerted pressure on him to resign. It is hard to believe that he resigned because of a party decision taken way back in 1999. After all, he did contest the Koraput Lok Sabha elections in 2004, 2009 and as recently as 2014, didn’t he?” quipped the Congress.
Beginning 1972, he was elected from the Koraput parliamentary constituency nine consecutive times before losing to BJD’s Jayram Pangi in 2009. He lost to Jhina Hikaka of the BJD in the 2014 elections.
He was also elected to the Laxmipur Assembly seat once in 1999 after he became Chief Minister on February 17 that year. He remained Chief Minister till December 6 the same year.
Gamang also served as a Union minister in the Indira and Rajiv Gandhi government.