Kamat’s drama ends in two weeks

Staunched Congressman Gurudas Kamat returned back to his party taking back his resignation which was given fortnight ago. This is no surprise to me as it was expected because this is not the first time he has created this type of drama. His resignation was more an expression of unhappiness over his being sidelined by Sanjay Nirupam, who is presently leading the Congress party’s Mumbai unit. Gurudas Kamat stretched his muscles in advance to ensure that his followers get their share of tickets in the Mumbai municipal corporation elections, which are due next year.

Kamat was ignored by Sonia Gandhi, but when she met him and his purpose was solved, he announced that, Congress Party senior leaders met him and convenience that Congress is the only party where he can serve people. This could be really laughable as he is the senior most Congress leader and was unaware about his seniors might. Tell him?

When Kamat, resigned from the party and announced his retirement from politics, everyone predicted that this will be a major blow to the Congress ahead of next year’s Mumbai civic polls. However, this is not the first time that he has resigned. He has done this even before. He resigned; media aggressively giving news space to his submission and then some Congress leader mediated and he came back. His ego is a setback for him. Kamat is known for lobbying and spoiling the political career of other Congress leaders. Once upon a time, he and Vilasrao Deshmukh were teamed up and they hired some local journalist to sabotage Kripa Shankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam. There are many leaders from Maharashtra state who were victimized by Kamat. He holds bit lobby of RTI activists to journalists and uses them against fellow party leaders.

One cannot deny that Kamat holds sizeable commands over corporators and youth workers. However, everyone is aware that he doesn’t have life beyond Congress party. He might be back, but one needs to be glad that a younger team is now going to lead the Congress party. May be, we will see some real positive change once Rahul Gandhi takes over. Kamat’s downfall is his self-esteem.

Kamat was known as a Gandhi family loyalist but he is an opportunist and has always lived with his own cravings. He is one of the state leaders who have differences with other members of the party. No one actually wants to react or say anything on his quitting politics, and rather everyone silently wished for his exit. He personally met Sonia Gandhi telling her that he wants to quit and he also wrote them a letter, but this time he was not entertained. While, the Congress top brass has been careful in its reaction to Kamat’s decision to quit the party, it now appears that the reasons behind his discontent is more local than anything going on within the party at the top level.

Kamat was also upset with the party leadership over decisions related to the Mumbai Congress, of which he was a president in the past, and the impression that his supporters are being sidelined from routine functioning. He was also unhappy over the choice of Sanjay Nirupam as a city Congress chief and has publicly expressed his disapproval for the same. Party office-bearers from Kamat’s faction in a city unit complain that they were sidelined by Nirupam, leading to a widening of the rift between the warring groups.

Kamat’s discontent was visible during the two visits of Rahul Gandhi to Mumbai in the past five months. As an act of protest, Kamat skipped Gandhi’s ‘padyatra’ between Bandra and Dharavi over rising electricity bills in January and then the rally in support of jewellers in April. Significantly, Kamat is known for sending his resignation to the party leadership when he is unhappy with certain decisions. He had quit as Youth Congress president and as a minister in the United Progressive Alliance government when he was not promoted as cabinet minister.

When he resigned, the same group of workers spread the message across social network and now the same lobby is giving first hand news that he has taken his resignation back. Another group in Mumbai Congress, however, believes that his threat of resignation is a pressure tactic as he wants to have a say in the affairs of the city unit during the municipal elections. It seems to be true. They also pointed out that Kamat always had problems with those heading the city unit of the party — whether it was late Murli Deora or Kripashankar Singh. Now, Rahul Gandhi’s increasing affinity to Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam was hurting Kamat the most.

Kamat was even more upset with issues concerning the All India Congress Committee, he wasn’t very happy with Rajya Sabha nominations. The Congress has nominated former home minister P Chidambaram for the Upper House from the state. Kamat is a former Mumbai Congress president for two terms now, and has a deep knowledge of the city politics and his absence could prove detrimental for the party, which is hoping to capture next year’s critical elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Starting his political career as a student leader, he rose on to become the president of National Students Union of India, of the Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress, the Indian Youth Congress, as well as the vice president of the party’s Maharashtra unit, besides serving in the union cabinet. It’s time for him to leave and do some social work, but that needs extraordinary will power. So, the old man is back to the pavilion with some more perks and plums.

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