The general election season 2019 seems to be a rough ride for Congress and the party received another major blow on Friday when Priyanka Chaturvedi, former Congress national spokesperson, and social media convenor, resigned from the party a day after going public with her resentment on social media and joined rival Shiv Sena in the presence of Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. She had resigned from all posts and primary membership of Congress on April 18. Priyanka was upset with the party leadership for taking back workers who had been thrown out for misbehaving with her. “Lumpen goons” get preference in the Congress over those who had “given their sweat and blood”, she lashed out at Congress in her tweet on Wednesday after reports of the party workers getting reinstated got confirmed. “Having faced brickbats & abuse across board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate,” her tweet read.
Chaturvedi’s distress refers to an incident in Uttar Pradesh when Congress had suspended some workers for misbehaving with her during a press conference on the Rafale deal in Mathura a few days ago. However, Chaturvedi’s decision to quit party was triggered on Monday when the party’s ‘disciplinary committee’ issued a communication in which it invalidated all actions taken earlier against the workers who “misbehaved” with Chaturvedi in Mathura. As per reports and claims by the Congress workers in UP, the decision to withdraw action was taken on recommendations of West UP Congress General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia considering the poll season and to keep the local workers satisfied.
Congress spokesperson Hemlata Patil expressed, “Priyanka was a good spokesperson of Congress. However, sometimes a member of the party starts thinking that he/she is bigger than the party. If you have any grievance, you should address it in a better manner. The manner in which Priyanka expressed her unhappiness on Twitter is unjustified. She shouldn’t have brought her ego in the way while working for the party’s development.”
“Everyone is eyeing for a post in the party but it can’t please everyone. The young generation is coming forward and Rahul Gandhi is assigning responsibilities to them. The manner in which Congress had projected Priyanka, no other party can do. I don’t think that Congress has meted any injustice to her,” Patil added.
Talks around her quitting the party emerged after Chaturvedi removed ‘Convener – AICC Communication’ and ‘national spokesperson’ from her Twitter description and reportedly exited the Congress’ WhatsApp groups.
Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted her resignation letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday morning. In the letter, she wrote, “In the last few weeks, certain things have convinced me that my services are not valued in the organisation and that I have reached the end of the road. At the same time, I also feel that the more time I spend in the organisation will be at the cost of my own self-respect and dignity.”
Her resignation letter on Twitter was accompanied with a brief statement; she wrote, “I am absolutely overwhelmed and grateful with the love and support I have got across board from the nation in the past 3 days.
I consider myself blessed with this immense outpouring of support. Thank you to all who have been a part of this journey.”
Addressing a press conference flanked by Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya, Chaturvedi said, “I want to go back to my roots and work for the development of Mumbai and that is why I joined the Shiv Sena. I want to work for women empowerment and for the youth, and there is no better platform than Shiv Sena to accomplish my goals.”
She further added, “I know my previous comments will be used against me and my ideology will be questioned, but I am satisfied with my decision. Being a Mumbaikar, I have always had an association with the Shiv Sena. There has been no change of heart.”
Talking about Shiv Sena’s newly welcomed member, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande stated, “Women are insulted and not given respect in Congress while Shiv Sena gives respect to women and therefore, Priyanka has joined the party. Naina Sahni was murdered during Congress’ reign. Priyanka’s entry in Sena augurs well for the party.”
The exit of Congress’ one of the most vocal and known faces is looked after as a major setback during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls and when Maharashtra too will go on polls later this year. On the other hand, another section of the political experts believes Chaturvedi’s agony is because of being refused to contest the elections from Mumbai. Many also believe that she is adopting the same modus operandi of playing the sulking and roping in-game as played by many Congress leaders previously while others have questioned her ideology and wondered what led to such a staunch supporter of Congress and secular India join the right-wing Sena! Questioning her integrity towards the party that she served for 10 long years, a part of political analysts has also blamed her unfulfilled political ambition as a reason for her switching sides.
BJP spokesperson and advisor to CM Maharashtra Shweta Shalini asserted, “Because of prevailing hooliganism in Congress, Priyanka has quit the party to join Shiv Sena. She has taken the right decision and we welcome her. Priyanka is also well aware that Congress won’t come to power. Even though Priyanka worked with a secular ideology so far, she has to follow the Sena’s Hindutva ideology now.”