On women empowerment, we need to walk the talk: Priyanka Chaturvedi quits Congress, joins Shiv Sena

Priyanka Chaturvedi quit the Congress and joined the Shiv Sena in Mumbai on Friday. (Express photo/Amit Chakravarty)

Congress national spokesperson and media cell convenor, Priyanka Chaturvedi, resigned from the party Friday and joined the Shiv Sena. The development came two days after she expressed her displeasure with the Congress for reinstating some leaders who had misbehaved with her at a press briefing.

While addressing the media in Mumbai, Chaturvedi said, "I have always been vocal about women’s empowerment and safety. But I was trolled and abused. My family was threatened. I was sad when I saw a few party leaders attack me. They were suspended earlier by the party. But by reinstating them later, I felt let down. I realised that I will fail several women if I continue."

She added, "I know that after leaving this press conference, I will be trolled and attacked on Twitter, questions will be raised. But I can say confidently that I have taken this step after much deliberation. I will work sincerely for the Shiv Sena not only in Mumbai but across the country."

When asked if she decided to quit the Congress after she was denied an election ticket from Mumbai, Chaturvedi said, "Yes, I wanted a ticket but I knew it would not lead to bitterness if the decision didn’t come my way. The reason has been that when we talk of women empowerment, we need to live by them."

Earlier in the day, Chaturvedi took to Twitter to announce that she was quitting the party with a heavy heart, and that she never sought rewards in the hope that the party would take care of her aspirations.

"I write this resignation with a heavy heart. I had joined INC as a member of the Youth Congress in Mumbai 10 years back as I believed in the ideology of the party and your vision of inclusive, liberal, progressive politics," she tweeted.

She also said, "I don’t even have to remind you of having faced personal threats, slander and abuse and so have my family members including my kids in the course of my service to the party. I have not asked, sought rewards or returns for myself in the hope that party and its leadership will take care of my aspirations."

Expressing sadness over the Congress ignoring the misbehaviour against her, Chaturvedi said, "What saddens me is that despite the safety, dignity, empowerment of women being promoted by the party and has been your call to action the same is not reflected in the action of some of the members of the party."

"A serious incident and misbehaviour against me by certain party members, while I was on official duty for the party, has been ignored under the guise of all hands needed for elections. This indignity to me has been the final factor to convince me to move on and focus on other things outside INC," she said.

"I am absolutely overwhelmed and grateful with the love and support I have got across board from the nation in the past 3 days. I consider myself blessed with this immense outpouring of support. Thank you to all who have been a part of this journey," Chaturvedi said.

She exited all Congress media WhatsApp and volunteer groups and dropped her designation from her Twitter bio. Chaturvedi sent her resignation to the party’s top brass.

On Wednesday, Chaturvedi had lashed out at her own party saying that the Uttar Pradesh party unit had reinstated eight party workers who were suspended last year for allegedly misbehaving with her at a meeting in Mathura. Calling the eight leaders "lumpen goons", Chaturvedi had tweeted: "Deeply saddened that lumpen goons get preference in @incindia over those who have given their sweat and blood. Having faced brickbats and abuse across (the) board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate."

The UP Congress had said the eight, including a state general secretary and a former Assembly candidate, were reinstated "on the recommendation of Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia" after they expressed regret and promised not to repeat the act in the future.

The letter, ordering the reinstatement, was issued by former MLA Fazale Masood, a member of the UP Congress disciplinary committee. The order stated that in the recent past, disciplinary action was taken against the "concerned persons" on the recommendation of Priyanka Chaturvedi and that the eight leaders had requested reinstatement expressing regret over the incident. A copy of the letter has been marked to A K Antony, Chairman of the AICC Disciplinary committee, Scindia and State President Raj Babbar.

All the eight leaders are known faces of the Congress in Mathura, and most are office bearers as well. The eight leaders are Ashok Singh Chakleshwar, working president, district Congress committee also member AICC; Umesh Pandit, general secretary, UP; Pratap Singh, a former candidate of the Chata Assembly in Mathura; Abdulla Jabbar, party vice president, Mathura.

The list also includes leader Giridhari Lal Pathak, Bhuri Singh Jayas, who is former district president of the Sewa Dal, Praveen Thakur, district president of the Mathura NSUI and Yatendra Mukdam, district Youth Congress president.

Congress Communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala reacted on the issue.

"Every time a party member leaves, it’s a matter of pain for us. Ppl look for career progression. We wish all of them well, including Priyanka Chaturvedi…I must frankly & on record concede, yes, it’s a reflection on my leadership," he was quoted as saying by ANI.