Internal rift within the Maharashtra Congress poses threat to a united strength ahead of 2019 polls
Maharashtra, Politics

Internal rift intensifies as Congress looks for revival in Maharashtra

The Congress party was in power in Maharashtra with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for 15 years in a row till 2014. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) took over the power in 2014 when Devendra Fadnavis became first BJP chief minister of the state. The Congress party is trying to woo back its voters in the state ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2019.

Maharashtra Congress has launched the ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ ahead of the general election scheduled in 2019. The first phase of the Jan Sangharsh Yatra will culminate on September 8 in Pune while the next phase would be launched in North Maharashtra on Gandhi Jayanti.

Congress and NCP have stated that they would contest the general elections, slated for next year, in an alliance and are already in seat-sharing talks.

Congress is trying to put up a united show in Maharashtra ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Maharashtra Congress Committee chief Ashok Chavan was asked to resign from the chief minister’ post over corruption allegations related to infamous Adarsh Housing Society Scam in 2010. Maharashtra sends 48 member of parliaments to the Lok Sabha and has a 288-member assembly.

A two-president formula for Mumbai Congress

Amid reports of growing infighting and internal rivalry in the Congress party’s city unit, with some city leaders, demanding the ouster of Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, a section of Congress leaders has suggested that the party should have two heads to lead its city units: a president and an executive president.

The factions met Congress general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge and raised their concern with him raising Nirupam’s leadership qualities.

Sanjay Nirupam, a former MP, took charge as Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president in March 2015.

The Mumbai Congress chief has been into controversy for his infamous remarks on various issues, it damages the party’s prospects. Mumbai accounts for six Parliamentary and 36 assembly seats. The Congress had drawn a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the city. In 2009, the party had won five Lok Sabha seats from Mumbai.

Milind Deora, among the closest aide of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and son of former Union Minister and longest serving Mumbai Congress president Murli Deora is another contender for leading the party. Senior Congress leaders are worried about the party’s dwindling fortunes under the current leadership.

The MRCC was set up to look after the party’s affairs in Mumbai, while MPCC handles party affairs in the rest of the state.

As the tension mounts to rise within the party, it will be a tough task for the high command to show the united strength ahead of 2019 polls.

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