31/01/2015 12:57 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

Jayanthi Natarajan Issue: All Hypocrisy, No Facts

NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 8: Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.  (Photo by Sipra Das/India Today Group/Getty Images)
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 8: Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. (Photo by Sipra Das/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Jayanthi Natarajan, former union minister and Congress Leader resigned from the Party on Friday, 30th January, 2015 accusing Congress vice-president Shri Rahul Gandhi of interfering in her ministerial responsibilities and subsequently firing her as Minister. She has also accused the Congress Party of planting stories against her and to force her to attack Modi on Snoopgate, despite her reluctance.

The facts are quite different. Rahulji is the vice-president of the party and has his own organisational responsibilities. The accusations of Ms Natarajan that Rahulji was micro-managing the affairs of the Government are preposterous. Everybody remembers that a day after she resigned from the Union Council of Ministers, she had said before the media that it was her own decision to resign from the government to work for the party.

Ms. Natarajan, in her letter to Congress president Smt. Sonia Gandhi, has also stated that she was never a bottleneck in the development process, nor was she ever responsible for unwarranted delays in major projects. This claim doesn't tally with the facts. As per finance ministry figures reported by Mail Today, during Natarajan's tenure, the Ministry of Environment and Forests held up 35 mega projects, each involving an investment of Rs1,000 crore or more. The total investment thus held up exceeded Rs35,000 crore. It has been established that proposals were gathering dust at Natarajan's table even after the ministry's Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) had cleared them.

Her allegations against Rahulji are completely unfair and baseless. If Rahulji was interfering with the works of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, was it only during Ms. Natarajan's tenure? Another former Environment and Forest Minister, Shri Jayram Ramesh has vehemently denied any interference by Rahulji. This shows she is lying. Natarajan has her own ambition and to hide that, she has used the Congress leadership as a veil. The media reports suggest that she had met the BJP leaders during winter session of Parliament. So her resignation was pre-planned and has nothing to do with Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi or the Congress Party. After the defeat of the Party in the Lok Sabha election, we are witnessing some opportunist faces who have jumped to other parties. She is one of them. If she thinks that by attacking Rahulji, she will get some plum position in the BJP or the government, then I pity her. This is a party that sidelined leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, the founders of the BJP. How will it give respect and responsibilities to Natarajan?

She says that she is loyal soldier of Gandhi family. She has reasons to say this. In fact, the political career of Ms. Natarajan began when she was noticed by Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s. She was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986 and once again in 1992. This is not the first time she has resigned from the Congress Party. She resigned in 1997 to join the Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) and served as a minister in the United Front Government. Despite her lack of a popular base, (she has never been elected to Lok Sabha), the Party had given her tremendous respect and responsibilities. She served as a Rajya Sabha member four times and she has also been a union minister and party spokesperson. The party had reposed a lot of faith on her. Now, when the party is out of power at the Centre, she is feeling suffocated.

The BJP, which is trying to comfort Ms. Natarajan, should recall the words of their Prime Minister who had said in his Goa rally that all files in the MoEF were pending because of a new tax in Delhi called 'Jayanti tax', and unless it was paid, no file would move in the ministry. How the BJP and Ms. Natarajan are suddenly finding themselves on same page is for the BJP to explain to people.