Three exits from Congress in a month: What the outgoing leaders said

The first jolt came on January 14, when Milind Deora quit the Congress party, ending his family’s 55-year-long history with the party. Later, Deora, considered among Rahul Gandhi’s “young bridage”, joined the Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. The next in the line to leave the Congress was the party’s Muslim face in Mumbai — Baba Siddique, a political leader whose iftaar parties were a hit among the entertainment and business communities. And the latest blow came with former chief minister Ashok Chavan’s departure.

Here is what Milind Deora said following his Congress exit:

“There is a world of difference in the Congress that I had joined and what it has become now. The party, which 30 years back ushered in economic reforms, is abusing industrialists and businessmen, calling them anti-nationals. The same party that used to offer constructive suggestions on how to take the country forward… these days its only intention is to oppose everything that Prime Minister Modi does or says.”

“I believe in the politics of GAIN, which is growth, aspiration, inclusivity and nationalism, and not in the politics of PAIN, or personal attacks, injustice and negativity.”

“A senior party leader requested me not to do it (quit Congress) on the day of the launch of (Rahul Gandhi’s) Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. It was simply ridiculous. It only reinforced my belief that I was doing the right thing.”

“I had clearly told different sections of Congress leaders that I was not happy with the way things were going and party was surrendering in front of the allies. The Family (Gandhi family) had no interest in wanting to do this (Maha Vikas Aghadi ) alliance in the first place (in 2019).”

Festive offer

“People have approached me in the past — many parties, including allies of Congress. Even Sena UBT in the past had approached me. I rejected all of them. But when you don’t see your purpose being fulfilled, you have to move on with your life.”

“There are lot of people in the state and in the country who feel disgruntled and feel that the (Congress) party has lost its track. I have spoken to at least dozen senior people in past 24 hours who were extremely praiseworthy of my decision.”

Here is what Baba Siddique said following his Congress exit:

While joining the Deputy CM Ajit Pawar-led NCP, Siddique acknowledged the role of late Congress MP Sunil Dutt in his political career. He said he had consulted his MLA son Zeeshan Siddique and former Congress MP Priya Dutt before crossing over to the NCP.

“Congress is indulging in politics of perception, they want votes from a particular community but don’t want to give anything.”

“When you don’t understand something and it doesn’t improve despite saying again and again, you need to understand that you are not needed anymore and you should move on. So, I have moved on. ‘Ab kya rona, jab chidiya chug gayi khet‘ (what is the use of crying over spilled milk).”

” I am sad but happy too. I am sad because as I was with Congress for 48 years and I am not thick-skinned. If you heard my speech today, in subdued tone I tried to convey many things. My condition in the Congress was how curry leaves are used to enhance the taste of food and then thrown away. I was treated like that in the Congress party. But happy because the everyday bickering now ended.”

Here is what Ashok Chavan said following his Congress exit:

“I have been in the Congress since my birth. I worked for the party honestly till yesterday. But now I feel it is time to explore other options. I will clear my stand on joining a party after two days.”

“I haven’t taken any decision yet on joining the BJP and don’t know BJP’s working system.”

“There are many people who love me and support me. They tried to contact me, but I could not respond. The decision I have taken today won’t be reversed. I do not know what other MLAs or Congress leaders will think or do. I have not contacted any one of them.”

Chavan maintained that he was not going to discuss anything happening within Congress at a public forum. He further said that his choice to depart from Congress was independent and refrained from attributing specific reasons for his exit.