Congress’ dilemma: Going solo or fighting in alliance in civic polls

Updated on May 23, 2022 09:57 PM IST
The Maharashtra unit of Congress seems to be divided on whether the party should go it alone in the local body elections or fight in an alliance with its Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners - Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Nana Patole ANI File Photo
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Nana Patole ANI File Photo
By, Mumbai

The Maharashtra unit of Congress seems to be divided on whether the party should go it alone in the local body elections or fight in an alliance with its Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners - Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

On Monday, senior Congress leaders put forth divergent views on this matter at a meeting of the ‘extended state executive’ of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC). To further brainstorm and deliberate on the issue, a two-day state-wide conclave will be held at Shirdi from June 1.

Meanwhile, in line with the decisions made in the recent “Chintan Shivir” at Udaipur, the MPCC has begun implementing one-man, one-post rule for its organisational office-bearers. Legislator Wajahat Mirza, who is also the president of the state minority wing, has been asked to step down as the Yavatmal district Congress president.

Congress has also sent a message to Sena and the NCP against encroaching on its turf. The party is upset at the NCP tying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Gondia zilla parishad president election, and at Sena for commenting on the drift within the party and the gradual desertions from its ranks.

H K Patil, secretary, All India Congress Committee and Maharashtra Congress in-charge, said a ‘Nav Sankalpa workshop’ would be conducted at Shirdi on June 1 and 2. Another round of district-level workshops will be held from June 9 to 14.

An MPCC functionary, who attended the Monday meeting, said public works department minister Ashok Chavan made a pitch for contesting the polls in an alliance. “However, [MPCC president Nana] Patole seemed to think differently on the issue,” he said. Chavan later confirmed that he had spoken in favour of fighting together, while Patole’s aides said that the party must go solo.

“That issue [of whether to contest alone or in an alliance] was left undecided. It was decided to discuss this in the ‘Nav Sankalpa Shivir’ at Shirdi,” MPCC general secretary and spokesperson Atul Londhe said. This conclave will be attended by 800 delegates, including functionaries and incumbent and former legislators, and members of parliament.

Patil told reporters that as per the agenda laid down in the “Chintan Shivir”, the one-man, one-post principle would be implemented. “Some [leaders] will submit their resignations themselves.”

This rule would come into force immediately in Maharashtra, Patole said, adding Mirza had been relieved as the Yavatmal district chief of the party and an acting president had been appointed. Mirza, a member of legislative council, was appointed the chairman of the MPCC’s minority department on Sunday.

Patole said a list of office-bearers who held multiple positions in the organisation would also be prepared.

“The MVA government is safe and will sail through, and at the same time, Congress will not tolerate anything wrong happening to the organisation,” Patil said. He was responding to a question about the rift between Congress and the NCP over the later joining hands with BJP in Gondia and the Sena’s swipes at the internal troubles of Congress.

The digital membership drive of Congress has seen enrollment of 30 lakh members so far. The party will also launch a 75-km ‘Azadi Gaurav Padayatra’ on August 9 in all districts of the state which will culminate on Independence Day.

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