Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 30:
In a major embarrassment for the Congress party, Jayanthi Natarajan, former union minister of state for Environment and Forests and a four-time MP, has quit the party, reports say.
In a long explosive letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Natarajan has alleged that she was ‘wrongly vilified’ and ‘defamed’ in the media by sections of the party.
“Over the last 11 months, I have suffered the most excruciating mental agony, and have been continuously attacked, wrongly vilified and defamed in the media, and exposed to every possible humiliation in public life,” she has been quoted in the letter.
She has also slammed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in the letter, accusing people from his office of “planting stories in the media” against her. She wrote in the letter that she even honoured requests from Rahul’s office regarding environmental clearances in specific projects.
“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,” the letter said.
Natarajan was asked to resign from the ministry, a few months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections on the pretext of being asked to work for the party.
She has also asked Gandhi why she was never, till this day, given an explanation for her sudden departure from the council of ministers.
The BJP sharpened its attack on the Congress saying projects worth crores were held up during the previous UPA government for lack of environmental clearance and whims of certain leaders.
“What was so far rumoured has proved to be true,” said Arun Jaitley, union finance minister, reacting to Natarajan’s letter.
He also said that he hoped the current environment ministry would go into each of those cases and ensure that they are expeditiously dealt with only as per law and not any other consideration.