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Bigwigs skip Foundation Day function due to rift within the party.

Congress-LeadThe Congress Party observed its 130th foundation day yesterday. After suffering a defeat in the assembly polls held in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand the morale of the party workers is at an all-time low as many of the prominent leaders like former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane choose to stay away from the function. The function was held at Tilak Bhavan by unfurling the flag of the party. The party is mulling over organisational rejig in the aftermath of its debacle in the assembly election.

On this occasion, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre, former Union Minister and former Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Mumbai Congress Chief Kripashankar Singh, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Sevadal, Chandrakant Dayma, Mohd Arif Naseem Khan, Nitin Raut, secretary of state, Yashwant Happe, Rajesh Sharma were present including several office-bearers and workers. The function was presided over by Manikrao Thakre and Sushil Kumar Shinde. They also had taken the oath pertaining to maintaining of national unity and integrity.

According to a source from Congress party, “There is a conflict between Prithviraj Chavan and Narayan Rane. Both leaders are blaming each other for the dismal performance of Congress in Lok Sabha and assembly polls. On one hand, Chavan had won election from Karad while Rane had lost from Kudal. Rane had already expressed his unhappiness over the functioning of Chavan and was eyeing the Chief Ministerial post.”

The celebrations were low-key in Delhi too. Congress President Sonia Gandhi presided over the function at the AICC headquarters where she unfurled the party flag. However, Vice President Rahul Gandhi was not present at the function.

Asked about government formation in Jammu and Kashmir where the party bagged 12 seats, Sonia said, “We have not got a mandate. Others will have to form the government.”

She refused to comment whether Congress will be supporting PDP, which emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly elections with 28 seats.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad downplayed the electoral loss, saying “victory or loss in one election is nothing if it is compared to what Congress leaders have done in past for the country. We have seen many ups and downs”.

The event was attended by senior Congress leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora and Azad.
The Indian National Congress was founded on this day in 1885. The first session of the party was held at Mumbai between December 28 and December 31, and was attended by 72 members.

Last year, the Congress’s Foundation Day celebration coincided with the swearing-in ceremony of then Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Congress had lost in Delhi after 15 years.

Serious deliberations have started in Congress about its ideological pull, connect with masses and form of organisation as the party enters its 131st year.

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