MUMBAI: The infighting within Mumbai Congress has resurfaced ahead of Lok Sabha election with a major chunk of party leaders trying to spoil MRCC Congress President Sanjay Nirupam’s plan to switch over to a ‘safe’ constituency.
While Nirupam is said to be eyeing Mumbai North West - the constituency nurtured by late Gurudas Kamat, a delegation of leaders from the city Congress unit met party general secretaries in Delhi on Monday and handed over a letter for party president Rahul Gandhi urging him not to allow Nirupam to change his current constituency Mumbai North from where he lost the election in 2014 by a margin of whopping 3.5 lakh votes.
They claimed that his switching over to a safer constituency will send a wrong message to party cadres.
According to party insiders, several other leaders from party’s city unit including Kripa Shankar Singh and Baba Siddiqui have been eyeing the Mumbai North-West seat. Nirupam is a known Kamat baiter and hence Kamat loyalists opposed Nirupam’s candidature from the constituency at a recent meeting held at city party headquarters.
A senior Congress leader who did not want to be named, said that within the Congress circles Nirupam is accused for atrocities he allegedly inflicted upon minorities during his Shiv Sena days.
The Muslim community from assembly segments of Versowa and Andheri (West) who had faced the brunt won’t forgive him for that. Also the fact that he had contested against the then Congress MP from this constituency Sunil Dutt too goes against him.
The factionalism and infighting in the city Congress unit is not confined only to this issue. The city party unit has divided into several factions and former MP Milind Deora has announced that he won’t contest elections, in his style of registering displeasure over Nirupam’s style of functioning.
Former MP Priya Dutt too has declined to contest this time. However, that is more of health issues than rebellion, party sources have said.
Nirupam, who has been enjoying full confidence of party leadership, had only one reply to all the questions - “I shall accept party president’s decision whatever it might be.”