Mumbai Congress has been going through a very bad phase since the defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha election. There was not a single day when we didn't hear about internal politics between the Mumbai Congress leaders. But, interestingly, amidst the ugly politics, one outsider rose to the highest post in the party. This outsider is none other than Sanjay Nirupam!
Nirupam started his political career with Shiv Sena, but in 2005, he quit them and joined Congress. He became MP from North Mumbai seat in 2009, but in 2014, lost the Lok Sabha election to BJP candidate Gopal Shetty by over five lakh votes. Despite this huge defeat, he was appointed as Mumbai Congress chief in 2015. The party's decision drew eyebrows from within, given it had been only 10 years since he joined Congress.
Further, the party workers were amused that how can a person with hardcore saffron background be given such a huge responsibility ahead of the young leaders like Priya Dutt and Milind Deora.
Upon being asked if he will resign from his post, Nirupam said on Monday, "I am a Rahul Gandhi loyalist and he has appointed me to revive the party in Mumbai." The way he took Rahul Gandhi’s name, and called himself RaGa’s man showed the kind of rapport he has built with party president in a short period of time.
Republic TV spoke to senior congress leaders of Mumbai unit, and they said, "There are two groups in current Mumbai Congress unit. One group is of late Gurudas Kamath’s loyalist and second group is of Nirupam. Congress MLA Amin Patel, Nasim Khan, Krupashankar Singh, Milind Deora, Priya Dutt and other leaders are part of Kamath’s camp where as MLA Aslam Shaikh, former minister Suresh Shetty and others are in Nirupam's camp."
Sources in Congress claim that, after the defeat in 2014, late Gurudas Kamath wanted to take Mumbai congress unit under his control, but top leaders were not in his favour. Both his working style and regular threats of resignation worked against him. So to keep Mumbai unit in their control, Rahul Gandhi appointed Kamath’s arch rival and big face of North Indian voters Sanjay Nirupam as Mumbai Congress chief.
"In very short period of time, Nirupam won the confidence of Gandhi family. May be because of Rahul Gandhi’s hand on his head, he became very arrogant and rude," complains one of the senior congress leaders.
"He never listens to anybody, takes decision on his own without consultation with other senior party leaders. In last 3 years, Nirupam has insulted and hurt egos of many senior leaders. That's the reason, many senior leaders never share dais with him & did not take part in the agitation called him. Many Mumbai Congress leaders didn't like Nirupam’s working style and they are still not ready to digest the fact that they have to report to an outsider and this is the main point of contention and senior leaders want someone like deora who is more democratic in nature and acceptable to all," the leader added.