Gurudas Kamat’s death may deepen fault lines within Congress
After the loss of prominent Congress leader Gurudas Kamat, the Mumbai unit of the party is faced with a new challenge to keep party workers united as Kamat’s supporters are concerned they may be sidelined.
The party’s city unit, which has a long history of infighting and factionalism, may now witness a fresh round of differences even as it gears up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Mumbai has six Lok Sabha seats and 36 Assembly constituencies.
“There are chances that Kamat loyalists may not stay together. Some may even quit the Congress if they are sidelined within the party,” said a senior party leader.
Dharmesh Vyas, a Kamat loyalist, said, “We are not in the condition to talk of this issues as we are in shock over his demise. ”
Kamat, who was city unit party president from 2003 to 2008, was a key leader who wielded a significant amount of influence in party affairs. However, he was also reportedly at loggerheads with Sanjay Nirupam, who was appointed as city unit party chief in March 2015.
Nirupam, who has in the past expressed an interest in the staking a claim to the North West seat previously held by Kamat, refused to speak on the issue.
“Kamatji was a prominent leader with excellent knowledge of issues and skill to keep workers united. I have been speaking to the workers and leaders close to him urging them to join hands in party’s interest. They have been assured that everybody will get the share they deserve in the party,” he said .
Prakash Bal, political analyst, said, “Mumbai Congress unit has always been known for the infighting and factionalism. If it does not get its act together, the fight in forthcoming elections would be between the BJP and Shiv Sena. Moreover, Kamat has been marginalised by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in the last few years, so his presence would not have changed the picture.”