NEW DELHI: The first hint that Congress leader Gurudas Kamat, who had announced his decision to quit the party, was going nowhere came not from an announcement but from room allocation currently underway at the party headquarters. As general secretaries with lesser experience were shifted out to smaller spaces to accommodate big guns Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kamal Nath, the Mumbai strongman’s room and nameplate remained untouched.
That was the giveaway. Soon came the acknowledgment that Kamat was returning to his old job of Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Daman and Diu. “There’s no better platform than the Congress to work for the people,” he said.
Kamat will not only retain his old roles but also have a say in candidate selection when the all-important Mumbai municipal corporation elections take place next year, sources said.
Much of Kamat’s angst has to do with the rising clout of Sanjay Nirupam, who has Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s backing.While Nirupam is thought to be an “outsider’’, a north Indian leader inducted into Congress from the Shiv Sena, Kamat is considered a “diehard Congressi’’.
Quite significantly, Kamat’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi a few days ago took place when Nirupam was also in town. A truce has been worked out, a source said.
This is not the first time that Kamat has pulled a fast one on the party. He had earlier resigned from his Youth Congress position in a huff during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure. Later Kamat would quit the Manmohan Singh–led UPA government after he was made a Minister of State and not given a spot in the Cabinet.