Chennai: In a blow to Congress, former Environment minister Jayanathi Natarajan on Friday quit the party and mounted a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi, claiming that she followed his directions on green nod to projects but was “vilified, humiliated and sidelined” by central leadership.
A longtime Congress loyalist, Natarajan said she was ready to face probe into environmental clearance accorded by her during her stint as minister in the UPA government and has no plans to join any other political party after “such bitter experiences”.
“I have only followed the party line and rule book on all environment issues. To protect the forest rights of people and the rights of tribals in cases like Vedanata. There was no wrong doing on my part,” she asserted at a hurriedly called press conference here.
Natrajan said she cannot continue in the “suffocating atmosphere” in the party.
Virtually opening a can of worms, she accused Rahul Gandhi’s office of planting stories to sully her reputation after she had resignaed as Environment Minister on the direction of Sonia Gandhi.
“Specific inputs were received from the office of Rahul Gandhi based on the representation by NGOs raising environment concerns on certain large projects,” she said suggesting that the Congress vice president had interfered in the decision making process.
“I have done no wrong. I am willing to be hanged or go to jail if any concrete proof of my wrongdoing is established,” Natarajan said.