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Another Rahul appointee joins list of Congress deserters

Former Jharkhand Congress chief Dr Ajoy Kumar, once a Rahul Gandhi protege, has quit the grand old party over his differences with the party leaders in the state. He joined the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday.
Another Rahul appointee joins list of Congress deserters

A former IPS officer, Kumar was associated with corporate world before joining politics. He was elected an MP from Jharkhand Vikas Manch and then joined Congress.

The Congress has recently seen a spate of resignation, the latest was from Maharashtra from where veteran party leader Kripa Shankar Singh quit the party followed by actress Urmila Matondkar.

Earlier in June, senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who was also the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly resigned as the MLA and joined the state BJP government. After him, another Congress MLA and former Minister Abdul Sattar, who was close to former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, also quit as a legislator.

During Parliament's Budget Session, which ended on August 7, Congress lost several Rajya Sabha members. First, Sanjay Singh, who hails from the Amethi royal family, quit the Congress party, as well as his membership of the Upper House.

Sanjay Singh joined the BJP, with which he was associated earlier also and was elected to the Lok Sabha on its ticket in the 90s.

After Sanjay Singh, Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Bhubaneswar Kalita, also resigned from the Rajya Sabha on August 5, the day on which Union Home Minister Amit Shah brought the resolution revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and also introduced bills to bifurcate the state into two union territories.

Bhubaneswar Kalita unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha polls from Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency in Assam. He was also the party's Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha.

Following its dismal performance in the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has witnessed a severe internal crisis as many of the party leaders, including MLAs and MPs, have exited, costing the party its coalition government in Karnataka.

The issue of exodus from the party figured at a meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi had with party general secretaries, states' in-charge, chiefs of state units and CLP leaders on September 12. She described the defectors as "opportunists".

The worst hit states for the party in terms of defections, besides Karnataka, have been Telangana and Goa. There have been resignations in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh too.

In the last Lok Sabha elections whose results were declared in May, the Congress could manage to win only 52 out of 542 seats, just more than its previous tally of 44.

After the elections, the leadership crisis took a toll on the grand old party, with its chief Rahul Gandhi deciding to step down on May 25, just two days after the poll results were declared.

Amid leadership vacuum at the top, the Congress was hit by crisis in Telangana on June 6, as 12 out of 18 party MLAs switched to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

After Telangana, the party was hit by resignations in Goa, where the party had won 17 seats in the 2017 Assembly polls. On July 10, 10 party MLAs switched to the ruling BJP reducing its number to five. Interestingly all the five are former chief ministers.

A senior party leader had told that a night before the 10 MLAs decided to join the BJP, a senior party functionary had informed K. Raju, a core member in then Congress Chief office, but he failed to inform the senior leadership about the move.

( With inputs from IANS )

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