With few days remaining for the Lok Sabha polls, Congress party lacks the leadership to steer them in the right direction. The Congress party is yet to recover from its worst performance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in both the state and the Centre. Congress, which is trying to revive itself, faces a tough task ahead to challenge BJP’s attempt to retain power at the centre.
Former Congress MLA Ashok Jadhav said, “BJP is trying to expose the rift prevalent within Congress which is unjustified. BJP had got a majority but they only made propaganda of the country’s development but failed to fulfill their promises made during the 2014 election.”
Congress lacks dynamic leaders to represent it in Latur and Pune constituency. The party is struggling to choose candidates for these two constituencies. Latur was once known as Congress party’s bastion as former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh used to contest polls from this constituency. After Deshmukh’s demise, the party is yet to find a leader who can step into his shoes. Congress is yet to name a candidate for contesting the Pune Lok Sabha seat.
Senior Congress leader Shivajirao Moghe expressed, “Groupism is prevalent not only during this year’s election but every election. However, later on, the leaders forget everything and start working. Groupism is prevalent in every party.”
The infighting within Congress has not helped the party’s cause. Grassroot level workers are unhappy with Congress president Rahul Gandhi who remains inaccessible to them. Rahul who succeeded his mother as Congress President has failed to motivate party workers as they seem to be confused about their role within the outfit. The party is facing a leadership crisis both at the central and state level.
Congress MLA Chandrakant Raghuvanshi said, “The greedy leaders from Congress have quit the party but the key leaders continue to work for the party. Groupism is present in Maharashtra but Dhule and Nandurbar leadership has links with the Gandhi family. I don’t think that BJP will gain due to the rift prevalent within the Congress party.”
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Chavan too is facing a herculean task to revive the party as his name had cropped up in the Adarsh scam. Chavan had to step down from the chief ministerial post after his name was involved in the scam. He will be contesting polls from Nanded constituency.
Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “Although Vikhe Patil’s son has joined BJP, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is still with Congress. Nobody has quit the party from Mumbai. Sanjay Nirupam has voluntarily stepped down from the post of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee Chief to make way for Milind Deora.”
“Rahul Gandhi has fulfilled the agricultural loan waiver promise made to the farmers. He has also promised to launch a minimum income scheme for the poor. Whenever tickets are issued, candidates express their displeasure. BJP’s Rajendra Gavit has quit the party to join Shiv Sena. Nobody is taking note of internal rift present within BJP,” he added.
The defection of candidates too is not helping the party’s cause. Former Congress president of Satara district in the agriculturally prosperous western Maharashtra region Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar joined BJP in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a public event. Nimbalkar is not the only leader who changed sides and shocked the Congress party in Maharashtra. In a recent development, Congress MLA from Aurangabad Abdul Sattar met CM Fadnavis and Maharashtra’s Cabinet Maharashtra Girish Mahajan and discussed his plans of quitting Congress in the upcoming polls.
Senior Congress leader Kalidas Kolambkar, a close associate of former chief minister Narayan Rane, is likely to join BJP this month. He is a five-time MLA from Wadala. Congress party leader and seasoned Municipal Councilor from Ghatkopar Pravin Chedda joined BJP in the presence of CM Devendra Fadnavis. Maharashtra’s leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s son Sujay joined BJP earlier this month. Sujay joining BJP is seen as a major setback for Congress in the state.
Sanjay Nirupam was replaced by Milind Deora as the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee Chief on Monday. The party had taken this decision due to internal strife in Mumbai Congress. Senior leaders were unhappy with Sanjay Nirupam and wanted him to be replaced with Milind Deora.