The Congress on Friday dispelled rumours that its senior leader Kamal Nath was joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Kamal Nath is not only one of the most experienced leaders of the party, but has been the architect of the strategy and narrative of the Congress through challenging times,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, according to NDTV. Nath is the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee.

He also accused the BJP of running a “malicious, ugly whisper campaign to malign” Congress leaders and hurt the morale of party workers. “He [Nath] continues to serve, and proudly, as a worker, as a leader and as a general secretary of the party. We reject completely any such malicious and negative insinuations that the BJP is spreading,” he said, according to The Indian Express.

Surjewala’s remarks follow rumurs over the past week that Nath was switching over to the BJP camp. The speculation came amid a number of Congress leaders quitting the party to join the saffron outfit.

“Those who have left the party can find the best place for themselves in the BJP as that party is prone to attracting defectors bereft of any ideology, direction or commitment to their own party,” Surjewala said.

Congress has been witnessing a rebellion among its ranks in New Delhi, which does not bode well for the party ahead of the civic body polls in the Capital on April 23. The latest to quit the party was Delhi Congress stalwart Arvinder Singh Lovely, whose departure has increased resentment against Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken. Maken has been blamed for “irregularities” in ticket distribution for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections.