Anand Sharma, who resigned as the head of the steering committee of the Himachal Pradesh Congress on Sunday, 21 August, said that he had been "vilified and humiliated," but added that he had no plans to quit the party.
"I gave up my profession, I gave up my life. I don't need to be vilified. I am deeply hurt and humiliated. I am sorry," Sharma was quoted as saying by NDTV.
He also claimed that he had not asked to be made the chairman of a steering committee, and was not even invited to be a part of the meetings.
"I did not ask that I be made the chairman of a steering committee," he said. "Why I was not invited to be part of all the meetings is what I cannot answer. My position had become untenable."
'We Are Not Slaves': Sharma on G-23 Members
Announcing his resignation on Twitter, Sharma said that he is a lifelong congressman" and that the Congress' ideology runs in his blood, but added that "given the continuing exclusion and insults, as a self-respecting person, I was left with no choice."
His resignation came days after veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad stepped down from the campaign committee as well as the Jammu and Kashmir political affairs committee.
Both Sharma and Azad were among the 23 leaders who had written to interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 demanding an election to the post of party president as well as the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The group came to be known as 'G-23'.
Speaking about the treatment meted out to G-23 members, Sharma said, "We are the builders of this Congress. We are co-owners, we are not tenants or slaves… When we raise certain issues, why are we being condemned?"
In May this year, both Sharma and Azad were dropped by the Congress from their Rajya Sabha lists as well.
'Is Congress Confined to Only 2 Names?'
Speaking on the soon-to-be-held election for the presidentship of the Congress, Sharma questioned whether the Congress was only limited to two individuals and asserted that the party must move beyond the Gandhis.
"Is the Congress only confined to these two names? Are we not ridiculing the history of the Congress party," Sharma said, as per NDTV.
Sharma, in his letter to Sonia Gandhi, reportedly said that he was "ignored" in party consultations ahead of the Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh. The leader also wrote that his "self respect is non-negotiable."
However, he told Gandhi that he would continue to campaign for the party candidates in the state.
His decision comes close on the heels of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections slated to take place in November this year. His resignation is likely to hurt the Congress party's efforts to do well in the polls and defeat the ruling BJP in the state.
(With inputs from NDTV.)