Respected Honourable ex-Minister Jayanthi Natarajan,
You wrote a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi which got leaked recently and created a furore. You have tried to present yourself as the victim but in fact you have shown yourself as the main part of the problem.
Let me explain…
1. You fully accept that dynasty loyalty is paramount…
In the very first para of the letter, you use the word “loyal” and the phrase “venerable legacy of my family”, calling yourself a “fourth generation Congress worker”. If that’s not enough, then the second para dwells on the same.
It is peppered with “my family served the country and the Congress party”, “my grandfather who was the last Congress Chief Minister of the State”, “my aunt who was a selfless social worker” and “the name of my family in the annals of our history as patriots and nationalists”.
It doesn’t end there. In the third para loyalty keeps getting invoked with things like “I myself have served the Congress party” and “glorious legacy of my family”.
Throughout the letter it is your loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty (and not the nation) that is on display and the crowning statement is: I strictly followed the laws and rules and tried to protect the environment, in keeping with the legacy of Smt. Indira Gandhi and Shri Rajiv Gandhi.
Wow! So you’re trying to protect the environment for the sake of Indira and Rajiv and not for the sake of India! (Also, it is like stalwarts like Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and PV Narasimha Rao never existed in the Congress party and every Congress worker has to serve the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and not the nation.)
In fact even towards the end of the letter, you repeat it…
“During my tenure as Minister, it was the clear and specific policy of the party, to take all steps to protect the environment, and carry forward the legacy of Smt. Indira Gandhi and Shri Rajiv Gandhi…”
Throughout the letter the thrust is “I’m from ‘a’ glorious dynasty” and “You’re from ‘the’ glorious dynasty”.
If that is indeed the case and if you can accept Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter, his grandson along with his granddaughter-in-law, then why can’t you accept Nehru’s great great grandson (Rahul Gandhi)?
It’s as simple as that.
In fact you also mention in the letter to Sonia, “I trusted you with my life…”Even in despair, anger and resignation (it seems) a Congress leader has to prove her loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
This is reminiscent of the statement made by former minister Salman Khurshid who said that he could sacrifice his life for Sonia Gandhi. (Not for the country?)
2. You accept that Manmohan took orders from Sonia and find it normal…
The Prime Minister of India does not belong to the party but to the people of India. He has to swear by the Constitution and the oath of secrecy. Many media reports have said that Manmohan Singh had no powers as PM but took orders from Sonia.
How is all this accepted normally? Isn’t this the main point of the letter that the PMO was severely compromised from 2004-14? But in the letter it seems to be more about you.
Certain allegations floated around and nobody had proof, but now prominent personalities like Natwar Singh, Sanjay Baru and yourself have shown how all those speculations were true and how you all were part of the very system that you have been criticizing.
“She wants you to resign?”
So this is how a PM dismisses someone from his council of Ministers? It’s simply amazing.
3. You accept that the Congress party plants stories…
I myself have worked in a New Delhi newspaper and while bringing an edition, “This story is planted” and “That story is planted” regularly used to reach my ears. But again, there was no solid evidence for the same.
Now you grandly declare in the letter, “…persons from the office of Shri Rahul Gandhi were calling the media and planting stories…” Do you realize how silly this sounds and how you have easily accepted such an unethical and immoral act of your party?
It is not a passing remark and you add: My sources were impeccable, and I felt unease. Thereafter, the media was flooded with negative stories about me.
You further substantiate that with…
“What followed was a hysterical vicious false and motivated campaign against me, in the media, orchestrated entirely by particular chosen individuals in the party. There was not a single word of truth in what was said, nor was there a single concrete fact.”
You have directly cast aspersions at both the media and the party.
4. You accept that there has been a witchhunt against Modi…
Again this is India’s biggest open secret. The mainstream media, civil society and NGOs have been going hammer and tongs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 12 years running with the full backing of the Congress.
Now you substantiate this by saying…
“While I was still a Minister, an important matter which has caused me great agitation is the fact that I was called upon to attack the present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on what is referred to in the media as ‘Snoopgate.’
Despite the fact that I initially refused, because I thought that the party should attack Shri Modi on policy and governance and not drag an unknown woman into a controversy, Shri Ajay Maken telephoned me on November 16, 2013, while I was on tour and asked me to come to Delhi immediately to address a press conference on the issue. I expressed my disinclination to do this, and refused the assignment, mentioning that I was a Minister at that time…”
“After the press conference throughout the controversy which followed I was told by Shri Maken to fiercely attack Shri Modi, on TV channels and during debates…”
5. You agree that UPA’s environmental policy was awry…
You have said a lot of things, but the following para sums it all…“My successor Shri Moily, put my orders on hold. A few days before I was removed as Minister, I needed to review the Adani file for some legal issues. When I sent for the file, I was told that it was “missing.”
After considerable search, my officials “found” it, apparently in the washroom of the computer section, the very day on which I had been asking to resign. Clearly some officials in my then Ministry did not want to send that file back to me, for unknown reasons.”
6. Why shouldn’t you be investigated?
At the end of the day both Sonia and Rahul can make whatever demands they want, but it is the PM and Ministers who sign the files. So when any wrongdoing happens, the ministers should be investigated first.
The resignation drama happened on December 20, 2013. The letter was written on November 5, 2014. However the people of India came to know of it only on January 2015. Why didn’t you decide to become a whistle blower and set things right?
A news report says that you yourself are facing multiple CBI enquiries now. I guess that is the right way to go about it!
Thank you for showing how rotten the system has been under the Congress party from 2004-14.
But know clearly that you were very much part of this rotten system and not outside it.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.