She is disappointed over the distribution of tickets, but Priya Dutt has decided not to resign. What she has decided to do, however, is step back from the party processes at the election and dissociate herself from the games being played out in the run up to the civic elections. Today, she is an angry young woman.
Baptised for the first time in the games played out in electoral politics (this is her first exposure since being elected to Lok Sabha), the Congress MP from Mumbai North West says she will not stand where people cannot offer the party MP and party workers “respect’’.
Of the 43 wards in her constituency, Priya had demanded just six tickets for party workers. Speaking to HT, she said: “These workers are neither my friends nor my relatives. I have no overt or covert interest in them except to reward them for the selfless party work they have been doing for years.’’
And yet, she said, some party MLAs have been creating hurdles in the way of these party workers. According to Priya, she had wanted to arrive at her list of candidates by consensus with all six party MLAs in her constituency. But only three turned up for the meeting – Baba Siddiqui, Janardhan Chandorkar and Baldev Khosa, who is also the district president of the Congress from the area. Later, though, Khosa was unable to withstand the pressures of the other MLAs and has not stood by his party MP in her decision to reward long time party workers.
“The party has a system whereby MPs are involved in the process. So the MPs have to be respected. But our workers have to be respected and not treated so callously.’’
“This is the only time that we can give something back to our workers. We call upon them incessantly when we need them to work for us or help us win our own elections. But nobody thinks about the thankless job that they are doing. Now I am facing an uphill task in making these people understand.’’
What has angered Priya even more is that some of her party colleagues are trying to drive a wedge between her and Mumbai Congress president Gurudas Kamat by saying that it is Kamat who is not willing to accommodate her interests. “He is the only one who has been with me,” is what she says.