Mumbai: Former Union Minister Gurudas Kamat on Monday announced that he was quitting Congress as well as politics.
Kamat's resignation comes ahead of next year's Mumbai civic elections, where Congress would be seeking to dislodge the incumbent Shiv Sena-BJP combine.
Party sources in New Delhi, however, said his resignation had not been accepted and efforts would be made to persuade him to withdraw it.
Kamat`s resignation came on a day another senior Congress leader Ajit Jogi, who is a former Chhattisgarh chief minister, announced that he was forming his own party.
In a statement to media this evening, 61-year-old Kamat said, "Dear friends, over the last more than 44 years I have worked with most of you and served the Congress. For several months now I have felt I need to take a backseat to enable others to get the opportunity."
"I met the honourable Congress president about 10 days ago and expressed a desire to resign. Subsequently, I sent letters to both Sonia ji and Rahul ji that I would like to exit."
"Since there was no reply I have formally informed that I would like to retire from politics. I ... Wish the best to the party leadership and each one of you," Kamat, who lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 to BJP`s Kirit Somaiya, said in the statement.
Currently, general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, Kamat - who enjoys enormous support base among the south Indians in Mumbai - has declared he will not enter the electoral fray for either the Congress or any other party.
His abrupt decision to quit could demoralise the state party unit which is already grappling with various crises in the past couple of years since its rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections.
A lawyer by qualification, the 61-year-old Kamat has represented Mumbai North East Lok Sabha seat five times - 1984, 1991, 1998, 2004, 2009 - and served as Minister of Communications and IT in the Manmohan Singh government.
A former Mumbai Congress president for two terms, he has a deep knowledge of the city politics and his absence could prove detrimental for the party which is hoping to capture next year`s critical elections to BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.
Starting his political career as a student leader, he rose on to become the president of National Students Union of India, of the Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress, the Indian Youth Congress, as well as the vice-president of the party`s Maharashtra unit, besides serving in the union cabinet.
He had shot into headlines in July 2011 when he suddenly quit the Cabinet but took pains to cite "personal reasons" for his decision.
(With Agency inputs)