The race for top post in the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee has gained momentum after Kripashankar Singh offered to step down.
The names, which are doing the rounds for the top post, include youth leaders Milind Deora and Priya Dutt, Eknath Gaikwad, Chandrakant Handore, Rajhans Singh, Sanjay Nirupam and Madhu Chavan.
Singh is reported to have offered to quit over allegations of links with 2-G scam tainted DB Realty Group. The party doesn’t seem to be satisfied with his explanations that neither he nor his son Narendra Mohan has connection with tainted builders. Inquiries in Singh’s disproportionate assets have revealed that certain developers had transferred money to his son’s bank accounts, which Singh said were business transactions.
However, various groups in the city Congress had mounted pressure on the party command to remove Singh over his alleged involvement in the 2G-scam.
His name had earlier cropped up in the Madhu Koda case as well. All India Congress Committee member (in-charge of Maharashtra) Mohan Prakash discussed this issue with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday. Both are willing for a quick change of guard in the Mumbai Congress.
When contacted on Sunday, Singh did not respond to our calls and text messages.
A senior Congress leader said that splinter groups led respectively by Union ministers Murli Deora and Gurudas Kamat want their nominee to succeed Singh before next year’s civic polls. From Deora’s camp, the names of MP Milind (Murli’s son) and Eknath Gaikwad (Dalit leader and MP) are being pushed. Kamat group wants either Chandrakant Handore (local Dalit) or Rajhans Singh (north Indian) to take over. Both are legislators.
Since Milind’s name has been proposed as a youth leader, who can fit party big gun Rahul Gandhi’s future plans, the supporters of MP Priya Dutt too have thrown in their towels in the ring. MP Sanjay Nirupam is in the race as well.
“Intense lobbying is on but the party will have strike a balance between all because the selection will certainly impact the city civic poll’s outcome,” said a Congress leader.
And when it comes to city’s local polls, the ‘sons of the soil’ issue becomes crucial, more so because the Marathi leaders have been denied city Congress chief leadership for decades and in this case, Byculla legislator Madhu Chavan’s candidature has surfaced very prominently.