Mumbai: In a surprise move, senior Congress leader and AICC General Secretary Gurudas Kamat has quit all posts in the party, according to a statement on Wednesday.
"I had met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi last week on Wednesday and discussed to be relieved off all responsibilities," he said in a terse statement, hinting at retirement from active politics.
Kamat said he had requested Gandhi to relieve him from all responsibilities on February 3, the day Congress candidates were announced for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation elections, and repeated his plea on February 21, the day of the BMC polling.
He said he had pursued his request with a letter to Gandhi after the BMC elections, in which the Congress was severely routed.
"I thank Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for the opportunity given to me to serve the party," he said without elaborating on the reasons for his decision.
Kamat welcomed the appointment of senior party colleague Ashok Gehlot, former Rajasthan Chief Minister, and four AICC secretaries to look after the affairs of the Congress in Gujarat, which is slated to go to polls later in2017.
As an AICC General Secretary, Kamat was handling the party affairs for the crucial western Indian state of Gujarat, besides Rajasthan, and Union Territories of Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
Earlier, in June 2016, he created a flutter by announcing his decision to quit the Congress and politics, but was persuaded by the Gandhis to stay back and continue working for the party.
Prior to that, he had shot into headlines in July 2011 when he abruptly quit the Union Cabinet, citing "personal reasons" for his move.
A lawyer by qualification, the 62-year-old Kamat has represented Mumbai North-East Lok Sabha constituency five times -- in 1984, 1991, 1998, 2004, 2009 -- and served as the Minister of State for Home affairs with additional charge of Minister of Communications and Information Technology under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A former Mumbai Congress President for two terms, he was respected for his deep knowledge of the city politics and his absence may sharply pinch the party.
Starting his political career as a student leader, he rose 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.