Former Union Minister and Senior Congress leader from Mumbai, Gurudas Kamat has the tendency to blackmail high command by tendering his resignation. Kamat had never intended to join any other party or form his own outfit unlike many other former colleagues. His resignation was more an expression of unhappiness over his being sidelined in Mumbai, allegedly by Sanjay Nirupam.
His plan seems to have been linked to the Mumbai municipal corporation election which are due next year: He needed to flex his muscles in advance to ensure that his followers get their share of tickets. And his tantrum paid him as he is a strong Congress leader.
Kamat had resigned earlier this month over his reported unhappiness with the functioning of the local party unit in Mumbai but said he had decided to quit politics owing to personal reasons.
Kamat finds himself isolated at a time when Congress party is heading for overhaul after its dismal performance in the assembly polls. By announcing his decision to resign, Kamat was trying to impose pressure on the Congress party so that he could have better say in running the party affairs ahead of BMC election to be held in 2017.
A former Mumbai Congress president for two terms, Kamat, 61, has deep knowledge of the city politics and his absence could have proved detrimental for the party which is hoping to capture the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in next year’s critical elections.
“Kamat was upset with Sanjay Nirupam’s elevation as Mumbai Congress Chief as internal strife was hurting the party’s growth in the city. Often there were reports about clashes between Kamat and Nirupam camps. Further, Nirupam’s close proximity to Rahul Gandhi had hurt Kamat, latter having distanced himself from Rahul’s recent trip to Deonar dumping ground. He was eyeing the Rajya Sabha seat but Congress party nominated P. Chidambaram from Maharashtra”, a senior leader on the condition of anonymity had said earlier.
A five-time member of the Lok Sabha, a former Union minister and a strong organizational man, Kamat’s resignation was seen as one of the senior-most exits from the party.
“I will continue to serve under the leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi with the same charge of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu as informed to me late last night. I will be meeting the people of states in my charge starting tomorrow Friday, June 24, 2016, onwards,” he said.
Kamat said he had resigned from the party because he wanted to do “social service minus any party tag”, but his decision changed after a meeting with the party president Sonia Gandhi. He will now continue as the party’s general secretary.
“During the last fortnight a large number of senior party leaders tried to convince me to rethink the decision. My meeting with the party president Smt. Sonia Gandhi helped me to make up my mind that Congress party is the best platform to serve the people of this country,’’ he said.
He added that he was informed by the party leadership on Wednesday night that he would continue to hold charge as early as possible of the states and Union territories assigned to him.
Kamat has a history of giving up posts. He did it in the 1980s as Maharashtra youth Congress president. Then again a few years ago in 2011, as union minister when he was given a less important portfolio of drinking water and sanitation. He had rather expected a cabinet rank.