NEW DELHI (AFP) – Beleaguered Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi came under new pressure Friday when a former minister accused his aides of waging a dirty tricks campaign against her and said his Congress party was undemocratic.
Jayanthi Natarajan, environment minister in the last Congress government, said she was resigning from the centre-left party and aimed several parting shots at the 44-year-old Gandhi who oversaw its disastrous showing in last May’s general election.
In a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi – who is also Rahul’s mother – Natarajan accused his office of “planting stories” in the media and making her a scapegoat for delays in environmentally sensitive projects. “A hysterical, vicious, false and motivated campaign was orchestrated against me,” Natarajan said at a subsequent press conference in the southern city of Chennai.
Natarajan said she had come under pressure from Gandhi while in office to hold back approval for mega projects and was then stunned to hear him publicly criticise the delays in a speech to industrialists.