When Former Union Minister and Congress leader from Mumbai, Gurudas Kamat, resigned from the party and announced his retirement from politics every newspaper covered this news. There was lot of debate and discussions, but none could explain what must have gone wrong. People say, this resignation will be a major blow to the Congress ahead of the next year’s Mumbai civic polls. However, actually speaking this is not the first time that Kamat has tendered his resignation; he has done this even before. Kamat’s ego is a setback for him. Actually, this time Congress is trying to get rid of old time leaders who was responsible for the party’s defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, they are looking out for young team and representation, in such conditions Kamat’s blackmailing is not worth noticing. Kamat is known for lobbying and spoiling career of his counterparts from Congress. Once upon a time, he was a part of Vilasrao Deshmukh’s team and they hired some local journalist to sabotage Kripashankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam’s political career. There are many leaders of state who were victimized by Kamat.
Though, one cannot deny that Kamat commands a sizeable clout among party cadre and youth workers but one needs to be glad that a younger team is now going to lead the Congress. May be, we will see some real positive change once Rahul Gandhi takes over. Kamat’s downfall is his self-esteem. He has tendered his resignation thrice intimidating Congress high command and blackmailing the party. Twice, he was lucky and got plum post but now he must be allowed to go for giving stern warning to others. Non-performers like him and Ajit Jogi prefer to quit before they are kicked out. Hence, they are resigning while blaming Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Their presence in Congress would not have helped the party’s cause either. Hence, it’s good for Congress to let them go.
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 told her that he wants to quit and he also wrote them 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 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 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 city Congress chief and has publicly expressed his disapproval for the same. Party office-bearers from Kamat’s faction in the city unit complain that they were sidelined by Nirupam, leading to the 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.
A day after he announced his decision to resign from the party as well as politics, Kamat, 61, wrote to the party leadership and messaged his followers, insisting that he will continue to do social work but will not hold a party tag.
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. 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, he 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. Whatever the reasons might be behind his resignation, it’s time for him to leave and do some social work.
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