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Raj Babbar to quit Congress? Senior leader hints at starting new innings through cryptic tweets

Raj Babbar sparked speculation of him leaving the Congress, as he congratulated Ghulam Nabi Azad's Padma Bhushan that earlier had sparked a controversy in the party.

Sri Lasya Edited by: Sri Lasya @laasiyapriya
New Delhi Updated on: January 28, 2022 17:20 IST
uttar pradesh polls, raj babbar, rahul gandhi, congress
Image Source : PTI

Uttar Pradesh elections are being held in seven phases starting February 10 to March 7 and the results will be out on March 10.

 

Highlights

  • Senior Cong leader Raj Babbar voiced support to Padma Bhushan award for Ghulam Nabi Azad on Twitter.
  • His tweets, reports that he has been in touch with Akhilesh raise questions: 'Is he quitting Cong?'
  • Babbar was earlier named as one of the star campaigners of the Congress for the upcoming UP polls.

Senior Congress leader Raj Babbar has voiced support to the Padma Bhushan award for Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, toeing a different line than his party colleagues. The Modi government recently announced to honour Azad with the nation's third highest civilian award. 

Azad's Padma Bhushan has invoked a mixed response from his party colleagues with many senior leaders including Jairam Ramesh and M Veerappa Moily calling it a 'political decision' taken by the Modi BJP. They alleged that the award was an attempt at flattery, and was not weighed on any merit or otherwise. "Now, it's for him (Ghulam Nabi Azad) to take a decision (on whether to accept or decline the award)," the leaders said. 

The leaders who have come out in the support of Azad include senior party leaders Kapil Sibal, Renuka Chowdhury and others. The latest one to join the chorus is former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar who has been sidelined by the party.

Babbar in a series of tweets voiced support to Azad for being honoured with the prestigious and hinted that he could be the next 'big fish' from the grand old party to jump the ship.

"Congratulations Ghulam Nabi Azad Sahab! You're like an elder brother and your impeccable public life and commitment to Gandhian ideals have always been an inspiration. The Padma Bhushan is an ideal recognition of five decades of your meticulous service to the nation," the actor-turned-politician tweeted.

His tweet on Azad soon gained criticism from G-23 leaders, who have been critical of the political leadership inside the Congress party.

Brushing off the comments, Babbar wrote on Twitter, "An award becomes more meaningful when an opposition party leader's achievements are honored. Anybody can do it for their own party leaders. I think the row over the Padma Bhushan is needless." 

Also Read | 'Ironic Congress doesn't need his services': Kapil Sibal on Ghulam Nabi Azad's Padma award

These tweets and reports that Babbar has been in touch with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav have raised a key question for the Congress - "Is Raj Babbar going to leave Congress for SP?" Although Babbar was earlier named as one of the star campaigners by the Congress for the upcoming UP polls, he has kept himself away from party meetings and events. 

It is worth mentioning here that the Congress has been losing its key leaders for a while now - starting with Jyotiraditya Scindia who left the Congress for BJP leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh in March 2020. Last year, Jitender Prasada joined the saffron party who was made a minister in Yogi Adityanath's government. Most recently, senior leader and former Union minister RPN Singh joined BJP. 

Also Read | UP Elections: A peek into why next-gen leaders are leaving Congress ahead of crucial polls

Also Read | 'Azad, not Ghulam': Disquiet within Congress after Ghulam Nabi Azad gets Padma Award