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Mumbai Congress divided over Nirupam and Chavan



Rahul Gandhi skips Ashok Chavan’s invitation to tour rural Maharashtra and instead will lead a rally in Mumbai led by Sanjay Nirupam against electricity tariff issue.

There is a rift within the Mumbai Congress unit after the party’s mouthpiece ‘Congress Darshan’ in its articles not only held India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru squarely responsible for the present anarchic situation in Kashmir, but also tried to connect party president Sonia Gandhi’s family to the Fascist dispensation of the 1930s in Italy.

Ashok Chavan the blue eyed boy of Gandhis and MPCC team boycotted MRCC chief Sanjay Nirupam’s official dinner and instead attended Gurudas Kamat’s ‘private’ party. Chavan was not only hurt but feels that the article was carried out with malicious intentions of pleasing opposition, to make Nirupam’s political journey safe. Sources in the party told this newspaper that Ashok Chavan was upset; outraged with the incidents that occurred in the recent past, so he showed disrespect for Sanjay Nirupam.

Meanwhile, rebellious Gurudas Kamat is playing his cards well by dividing people among the party, by fuelling the issues. Grassroots Congress leaders are not in a mood to take any chance in the present scenario. He had met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and conveyed his unease over Sanjay Nirupam’s style of functioning to the party high command.

On the other hand, inspite of Ashok Chavan’s insistence on Rahul Gandhi to accept MPCC invitation to tour drought ridden rural Maharashtra; Rahul preferred to lead a rally in Mumbai against state government and BMC organised by MRCC. Rahul is firming his grip on local politics and party, by taking personal interest concerning to the state of Maharashtra. The Congress vice-president will address party leaders at the Azad Maidan office, lead a protest march from Bandra to Dharavi to highlight high electricity tariff in the city, meet students at NM College and hold a rally, according to the itinerary prepared by the Mumbai unit. He is personally backing Sanjay Nirupam, this may force Ashok Chavan to surrender and cooperate with party workers without any agenda against them.

Party sources said Rahul Gandhi’s visit could defuse the tension for the time being. “The main task before Rahul Gandhi will be to end factionalism. Otherwise, it will be difficult for Congress to take on Shiv Sena in the ensuing civic polls,” sources said.

After a long time, Congress has a reason to cherish the victory in municipal and nagar panchayat polls. Out of 345 wards, Congress won 106 and NCP 82 while the BJP won 45 seats. As a ruling party BJP was expected to do better but it’s tally of 45 is not a defeat if it’s previous record is compared. Except Jamkhed of MOS Ram Shinde, BJP lost all remaining nagarpalikas and nagar panchayats. Congress and NCP have retained their tally and BJP has not gone down below its previous total. Smartly Congress and NCP have projected status quo as victory while demoralised BJP which was expected to improve its tally has not made it clear that though things have not been improved still also not changed or gone reverse against the saffron party.

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