MUMBAI: Factionalism in the Maharashtra Congress came to the fore on Friday after several members cross-voted in the Presidential election, where at least ten votes from the Congress are said to have gone to NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind.
Vice president of state youth Congress Satyajeet Tambe launched a heavy attack on leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil without naming him. Votes of both the Congress MLAs from Ahmednagar district have gone to the BJP, Tambe said.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan also expressed concern over the charges of cross-voting and demanded that the results be analysed carefully.
“Prima facie it seems there was cross-voting. If any such thing has happened in Maharashtra, then it is a matter of grave concern and we as a party will have to seriously think over the issue,” Ashok Chavan said.
State unit president of the party Ashok Chavan, however, tried to brush aside the charges. The presidential election was contested on an ideological basis and it doesn’t have any other political implication, he said, while making an appeal that those who are levelling allegations that Congress votes have gone to the BJP should do so with the names of such MLAs.
On the charges leveled by Satyajeet Tambe, he said that instructions have been given to party leaders not to go to the media with such allegations but speak to the party leadership if they have concrete information cementing their allegations.
Meanwhile, indicating growing cracks within the state Congress, party spokesperson and MLC Anant Gadgil fired a letter to all party MLAs, MPs, office bearers and district presidents expressing his displeasure over the functioning of the state Congress.
“Survival in the party is getting difficult with the growing “high handedness” of certain individuals,” he wrote in the letter.
The earlier norm of party spokespersons visiting the state Congress office to interact with the media has stopped now which has impeded the party’s official stand from reaching people, Anant Gadgil stated in the letter and added that he was not even informed about former minister Kapil Sibal and party's national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala’s press conference in February, 2017.
“While all this is happening in the Congress, I could not keep quiet anymore. Am I to understand that the party does not need people like me anymore?” Anant Gadgil questioned.