New Delhi: The Congress on Friday expelled Barkha Singh Shukla, a day after the senior leader described party vice president Rahul Gandhi as "mentally unfit".
Barkha Singh, on Thursday, also stepped down as Delhi Mahila Congress chief, but did not leave the party. The Congress, however, this morning said Barkha was being expelled for six years for "anti-party activities”.
The action was taken by state unit`s Disciplinary Committee headed by former minister Narendra Nath. "Disciplinary Committee of the DPCC in its meeting has unanimously decided to expel Barkha Singh for a period of six years from the party for undertaking anti-party activities just before the MCD elections," a party statement said.
Responding to this, Barkha tweeted that #RahulGandhiMuktCongress is the new slogan.
In another setback to the Delhi Congress with the civic polls due on Sunday, Barkha Singh yesterday hit out at Rahul Gandhi and the party's Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken.
Responding to this, the Congress' women wing had issued a statement removing Barkha Singh from the post of president of Delhi Mahila Congress.
In a statement, All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza said: "This is to inform that Barkha Shukla Singh has been removed from the post of President, Delhi Pradesh Mahila Congress, with immediate effect."
A defiant Singh said she will adopt legal options against her removal and said she would not quit the party, claiming herself to be a "loyal soldier" of the Congress.
"I will not quit the Congress and continue to wage my war within the party," she said, adding that "I will move the court against my illegal removal".
In a press statement, the former Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief had yesterday lashed out at senior party leaders. "Congress party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Maken has only used the issue of empowerment of women and women security to gather votes. The issue means nothing to them," she said.
"In an organisation where I myself am unsafe, how will I empower other women in that organisation? That is why I hereby resign from the post of President of Delhi Mahila Congress."
Singh, who had complained against "neglect" of women workers in ticket distribution for the municipal elections, alleged that the voice of party workers was "snubbed" and their grievances were not addressed.
"Rahul Gandhi is unfit to lead the party," she said.
"The one pertinent question we need to ask today is why is Rahul Gandhi in hiding? Why is he scared of meeting his own party members?" Singh said in a statement.
Several senior leaders had quit the party because of that very reason, she said.
"Rahul Gandhi is reluctant to address issues that exist within the organisation. Why does Rahul Gandhi shy away from meeting party leaders who ask him questions," she asked.
"He (Rahul) is only interested in meeting sycophants and not leaders who reason, question and ask," she added.
"Ajay Maken, Rahul Gandhi's nominee in the party, misbehaved not only with me but also with several office-bearers of the Delhi Mahila Congress. When the same was brought to the notice of Rahul Gandhi, our plea fell on deaf ears."
"It is because of this attitude of Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Maken that as many as five districts presidents and 75 block presidents resigned from the organisation. One of them has also filed a complaint of harassment against Ajay Maken and (All India Mahila Congress President) Shobha Oza," she added.
Delhi Congress' chief spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee later said that Singh was settling her "personal grudges" and "hurting" party interests at a crucial time when MCD polls are round the corner.
"She is not a 'loyal soldier' but a back-stabber who is deliberately trying to harm the party at a crucial juncture," Mukherjee said.
The development came after former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and former Youth Congress leader Amit Malik quit the party and joined the BJP on Tuesday.
(With Agency inputs)