Maharashtra Youth Congress elects leaders with political lineage
Even as their national party president Rahul Gandhi had launched the concept of primaries ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to ensure fair opportunities for all grassroot workers, the newly-elected office-bearers of the Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress (MPYC) come with dynastic lineage.
Satyajeet Tambe, the son of legislator Sudhir Tambe and nephew of former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, was elected as the president with 70,189 votes.
According to party sources, though the internal election process was held by the appointment of the returning officers by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the party workers who were registered as voters were ‘guided’ about whom to vote.
“The name of the MPYC president was finalised during a high -level meeting by state Congress president, Ashok Chavan, in Pune on September 7. The top three state party leaders, along with outgoing MPYC president Vishwajeet Kadam, were present in the meeting. Though the last date for the withdrawal of nomination had lapsed, the leaders finalised the plan to ensure Tambe’s victory,” a Congress leader said, requesting anonymity.
Tambe was an active member of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Indian Youth Congress (IYC) for the last 15 years.
He said, “Dynasty will stay in all political parties, but the Congress has been ensuring that no sincere worker is deprived of legitimate rights. This was the third MPYC election to be held in a democratic way and I think every worker has been given a fair chance to hold the deserving positions. I have reached this position only after being a grassroots worker. Why should I be deprived of any right just because I belong to a political family?”
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Amit Jhanak – who is the son of former minister Subhash Jhanak – and Kunal Raut – the son of former minister Nitin Raut– were elected as vice-presidents of the MPYC .
Brijkishore Dutt and Aditya Patil were elected as the state general secretaries. Dutt’s brother, Sanjay, is a former legislator, while Aditya is former Member of Parliament (MP) and All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) Himachal Pradesh in-charge Rajni Patil’s son.
Dutt said, “The elections were held by following due process and were monitored by authorities within the party. Along with my father and brother, I too have been working for the party for years now. What is wrong if I have been elected through due process? Rahul Katkar, the district president elected from Kalyan is a party worker with a very humble background and is an example of democracy within the party.”
Even the state executive committee of 60 members consist of members who are relatives of previous or existing party leaders.
Sachin Sawant, the party spokesperson, clarifying on the nepotism charges in the party, stated most office-bearers elected at the block level have no political lineage.
Sawant said, “Rahulji has clarified that not only the office-bearers at the top-level, but also the workers elected at the block level are important for the party. Most of the block level office-bearers do not come from any political family. So it cannot be said that dynasty prevails at all levels.”
He added that the elections for the Youth Congress were held in a democratic way. “It would have been unfair to prohibit any candidate just because he or she comes from a political family,” Sawant said.
Political analyst Hemant Desai said it is likely that the Congress does not wish to disturb the political lineage within the party at this juncture.
“After Gandhi’s attempt of primaries failed, he had announced that the party will try to bridge the gap between the old and the new leaders. I think the party has decided to not disturb the established leaders, especially, when it is struggling for its existence. However, Congress is not the only party to have political dynasty within its leadership.”
The elections for the office-bearers’ were held early this week, and the results were announced on Friday.