Former Congress MP Sushmita Dev quit the party today, taking by surprise many of her colleagues who even went on Twitter to reach out to her. The Assam politician is reportedly set to join the Trinamool Congress of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The change in her Twitter bio to “Former Member” of the party was the first clue this morning that she had quit. Though her resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi surfaced soon, the party officially denied her exit and even the letter.
“I tried speaking with Sushmita Dev, her phone was off She was a dedicated Congress worker and perhaps is, even today. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has not received any letter from her. She’s mature enough to take her decisions, I can’t comment until I speak with her,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
Ms Dev is in Kolkata to meet with Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee. “She will be the face of the Trinamool in Assam if she joins,” said Trinamool Congress sources.
She offered no reason in her letter for quitting her party of three decades, only talking about a “new chapter of public service”.
Another Congress leader, Manish Tewari tweeted: “If this is true it is most unfortunate. Why sushmitadevinc? Your erstwhile colleagues and friends especially the person who was National President of @nsui when you contested your first (Delhi University) elections back in 1991 deserve a better explanation than this laconic letter?”
Sources say she had been unhappy with her leadership for some months, especially over the Congress’s decision to tie up with the AIUDF in the April-May Assam election. She also had a disagreement with the state Congress leadership over the choice of poll candidates. She almost quit in March but was persuaded by the Gandhi to stay, say sources.
The daughter of Assam Congress stalwart and influential Bengali leader Santosh Mohan Dev, she was chief of the Congress’s women’s wing, the All India Mahila Congress.