Don’t go public with differences: Chavan to Mumbai Congress unit

Days after AICC General Secretary Gurudas Kamat denounced Mumbai Congress head Sanjay Nirupam’s “negative attitude” to distance himself from ongoing campaign for BMC polls, state unit party president Ashok Chavan took a dig saying “public spat” should be avoided.

In a bid to paper over the fissures, Chavan ruled out any “groupism” in the faction-ridden unit even as he conceded existence of “differences of opinion”.

“There is no groupism in the party’s Mumbai unit even though there may be only differences of opinion which should be resolved within four walls (of party). Public spat should be avoided as it is against the interests of party,” said Chavan.

The fault-lines within the city unit came out in open recently after Kamat, former head of Mumbai Congress, withdrew himself from campaigning for the BMC polls, citing “negative attitude” of Nirupam.

Former MLA from suburban Vile-Parle Krishna Hegde recently crossed over to the BJP.

Chavan said the party’s state election committee meeting is deliberating on finalising the names of candidates for next month’s elections to Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis for the districts of Osmanabad, Latur, Hingoli, Nanded, Wardha, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli.

“We are discussing names of candidates for these districts where the first phase of polls will be held. At the local level, talks are on for alliance with the NCP. We want to ensure there is no division of secular votes,” Chavan said.

He said the tie-up will be formalised with NCP in Latur and Beed whereas the Congress will contest solo in Osmanabad.

A total of 25 Zilla Parishads and 283 Panchayat Samitis will go to polls in two phases next month.

Apart from Chavan, party’s women wing president Charulata Tokas, former minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan, Latur legislator Amit Deshmukh, senior leaders Kripashankar Singh and Vilas Muttemwar were present.