The Mumbai Congress is not just fighting against the Shiv Sena and BJP but even against factionalism.
A month before the civic elections, Gurudas Kamat, a senior Congress leader and former union minister, has raised dissent by announcing that he was withdrawing from the exercise of selecting candidates and campaign. He has blamed Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam for his decision. This is the second time Kamat has embarrassed his party by openly revolting against Nirupam. This time, the reason seems to be the choice of candidates. Reacting to Kamat’s decision, Nirupam said his priority was to counter the Sena-BJP combine. In a message sent to his followers on Friday morning, Kamat said candidates seeking the party tickets should directly contact their local legislators or the district presidents. Kamat headed the coordination committee for the civic elections. Later in the evening, the party convened a meeting of senior leaders.
Kamat was reportedly upset over selection procedure of candidates. Sources from the Kamat camp said the reason behind the decision was Nirupam’s refusal to form a parliamentary board which has the final say in the selection of candidates shortlisted by the district-level committee. Kamat had also objected to revealing the manifesto contents before the official release.
Nirupam said he does not want the issue to be discussed at this juncture. “We have been following the guidelines of selection of candidates laid down by party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The procedure has been agreed upon by all 15-16 senior leaders from the city. If any of the leaders is insistent about particular candidate he should give it in writing and take the responsibility of the results,” he said.
This is not the first time that Kamat has dissented openly. He had resigned from the party last June only to rejoin it in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Congress launched a campaign, ‘exposing the sins’ of the Sena-BJP rule in the BMC for the last two decades. It also alleged that the freebies announced by the allies were just a hogwash.
“Nothing has been delivered in spite of having been in power for more than 20 years,”Nirupam said while addressing a press conference.