The only word I find to describe Ms. Jayanthi Natrajan is – fool. Her diatribe, which she issued to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in her letter or those media hawks in a press conference, are nothing but a classic case of frustration wrapped in hegemony. I call it frustration because; the lady brought the wrath on herself by remaining too loyal to the Gandhi family. Though she finally realized her mistakes, it is a case of ‘too little too late’. If not her intellect, Ms. Natrajan should have consulted history to see how the Gandhi family is in a bad habit of ditching and at times even humiliating those who support them, for nasty political benefits. This culture in Congress has gone worse after the advent of the mother-son duo at the helm of affairs. It is only a matter of time that Ms. Natrajan got the bitter treatment but in all likelihood, she must be a party to similar treatment to someone else during her good rapport time with party high commands. Ms. Natrajan can cry her way to as many media conferences she wants but the ground reality with Congress remains as rotten as it used to be during the times of Nehru and I am not expecting much to change after today either.
Madam, I write to you with a very heavy heart. Over the last 11 months, I have suffered the most excruciating mental agony, and have been continuously attacked, wrongly vilified and defamed in the media, and exposed to every possible humiliation in public life. As I write today, more than 30 years of my loyal, faithful, and dedicated service to our party stand destroyed and in shambles around me. My entire career is ruined, and above all, the sacred and venerable legacy of my family, which served our nation and party with immense distinction, and patriotism stands in danger of being tarnished. As you are aware, I am a fourth generation Congress worker.
To recall the sequence of events, I would like to record, that I was carrying out my duties as Minister of State (I/C) Environment and Forests in the routine course, when suddenly that day on December 20, 2013, the then PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh summoned me to his office. When I entered he stood up from his chair, looking tense and grim, and uttered these exact words. He said "Jayanthi, I have been told by Congress President, that your services are required for party work." I was puzzled, and I said, "Yes Sir. So what should I do?" He replied, "She wants you to resign." I was shocked and said, "Resign Sir? But when?" He replied "Today." I once again asked him if this was what the Congress president wished. He answered in the affirmative. Unsuspecting, and trusting you totally, I did not utter a single word, but smiled at him and said I would comply with the wishes of the Congress President.
The next day my resignation was headlines in the media, and all the initial reports correctly reported that I had stepped down for party work. By the afternoon, to my shock, I received information that persons from the office of Shri Rahul Gandhi were calling the media and planting stories that my resignation was NOT for party work.
My sources were impeccable, and I felt unease. Thereafter, the media was flooded with negative stories about me. The same day, namely, the day after I resigned, Shri Rahul Gandhi addressed a FICCI meeting of industrialists, where he made uncomplimentary references to delays in environmental clearances, and the adverse effects upon the economy, and assured the corporate world, that the party and government would henceforth ensure that there would be no delays, and bottlenecks for industry. After being alerted by the media, I saw the entire speech on YouTube. It was then that some in the media questioned me if I had been asked to resign immediately, to enable Shri Rahul Gandhi to address FICCI and the corporate world with the news of my resignation in the background.
I also feel that I have been pressurised and used to lead issues which I considered wrong. An instance: 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, and this should not be taken as the point of view of Government. I suggested perhaps an Official Spokesperson should do the Press Conference, if so desired. Shri Maken told me once again, that this was a decision taken at "the highest level" and that I had no choice in the matter. 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, although I was otherwise never fielded in the media after appointment as Minister.
I received specific requests [which used to be directives for us] from Shri Rahul Gandhi and his office forwarding environmental concerns in some important areas and I took care to honour those "requests." Shri Rahul Gandhi went in person to Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, and publicly declared to the Dongria Kondh tribals that he would be their "sipahi" and would not allow their interests to suffer at the hands of mining giant Vedanta. His views in the matter were conveyed to me by his office, and I took great care to ensure that the interests of the tribals were protected and rejected environmental clearance to Vendanta despite tremendous pressure from my colleagues in cabinet, and huge criticism from industry for what was described as "stalling" a Rs. 30,000 crore investment from Vedanta.
In fact you have yourself conveyed your concern in this regard in letters written to me. In several cases including the stalled GVK power project regarding the Dhari Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh, the Lavasa project in Maharashtra, the Nirma cement plant in Gujarat and in several other cases I was given specific input, to make my decision. Apart from this Shri Pulok Chatterji, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister was in constant touch with me, and officers of the Ministry in guiding the decisions to be taken by the Ministry at that time.