Just five days before polling in Punjab, the ruling Congress received another setback after former Union Minister and veteran leader Dr. Ashwani Kumar quit the party on Thursday.
Punjab is going for polling on February 20 and the ruling Congress party is finding it difficult to keep its flock together ahead of the elections.
Although Kumar has submitted his resignation to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, he made the letter public on Tuesday.
A former Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Dr. Ashwani Kumar has served as Union Minister of Law and Justice and Union Minister of State in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The resignation of Kumar is considered a big setback for the party ahead of elections because the former Union Minister ended his 46 years of association with Congress.
Sending his resignation to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Kumar said he could best serve national interests outside the Congress fold.
"Having given my thoughtful consideration to the matter, I have concluded that in the present circumstances and consistent with my dignity, I can best subserve larger national causes outside the party-fold", the veteran politician said in his letter to Sonia Gandhi.
"I am accordingly quitting the party after a long association of 46 years and hope to proactively pursue public causes inspired by the idea of transformative leadership, based on the promise of a liberal democracy envisioned by our freedom fighters", he said.
"While paying my respectful regards, I thank you for the consideration extended to me in the past and wish you good health in the years ahead," he added.
Not happy with treated meted out to Capt. Amarinder Singh
Citing various reasons for ending his 46 years long association with the Congress party, the former Law Minister minced no words in attacking leadership for "humiliating" former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.
"The former Chief Minister was humiliated publicly and that was against the principles the Congress has stood for,", a news agency reported while quoting Kumar.
The former law minister said the recent controversies around the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the Padma Bhushan to Ghulam Nabi Azad further cemented his decision to quit.
"It was a painful decision. I thought long and hard and realized the way internal processes of Congress are in place today, I couldn't continue any longer consistent with my dignity and self-esteem. I thought my shoulders weren't strong enough to carry the weight of indifference", he said.