Home / Politics / Policy /  Kamat blames Sanjay Nirupam for defection of Congress leader to BJP

Mumbai: The Mumbai unit of the Congress party was in turmoil on Monday with Congress leader Gurudas Kamat lashing out at senior party colleagues after an ex-legislator quit in a huff to join rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kamat blamed Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president Sanjay Nirupam and All India Congress Committee general secretary Mohan Prakash (also AICC in-charge of state affairs) for the exit of Krishna Hegde, who previously represented the Ville Parle assembly constituency. Hegde was an aide to former Congress MP Priya Dutt and part of the Kamat camp in Mumbai Congress. Hegde too attributed his decision to Nirupam’s “arbitrary style of functioning" that he said had left him with no choice but to leave the party.

Hegde’s exit and the outburst by Kamat—a former MRCC president himself—come at a time when the Mumbai Congress faces a tough election to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) where it is looking to challenge the 25-year-old Shiv Sena-BJP rule.

Kamat tweeted on Monday that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had informed him that former Haryana chief minister Bhoopinder Hooda has been deputed to resolve matters. Hooda will meet city Congress leaders on 25 January, Kamat tweeted.

Hegde, one of the younger Congress leaders in Mumbai, blamed Nirupam for the “sorry state of Mumbai Congress". “My father served Congress all his life and I am a born Congressman. Yet, Nirupam’s style of functioning is bleeding the Congress party and there is no choice left for loyal workers other than leave the party. It is sad to see the Congress in the state it is in now in Mumbai under Nirupam," Hegde said. He said he had raised this issue at different forums within the Congress and also with Nirupam. “But there has not been change in his approach," he said.

Kamat tweeted that “it was sad to see 2nd generation Congressman forced to leave INC India due to Nirupam and Mohan Prakash behaviour". Tagging Congress Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel, Kamat said they “must stop the bleed". In another tweet, Kamat asked if it “seems a deliberate attempt by Nirupam and Mohan Prakash to drive out people while Rahul Gandhi is busy with UP elections".

This is not the first time that Kamat has fallen out with Nirupam, an ex-Shiv Sena leader and former Congress MP. Last June, Kamat resigned from all his party posts apparently because of differences with Nirupam. Though Kamat later took back his resignation after discussions with AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, he has not been active in the Mumbai Congress affairs run by Nirupam. Kamat, who is AICC in-charge of Gujarat, has addressed a few public meetings in Mumbai to campaign for the party for the elections to the BMC.

“But he has been keeping a low profile in Mumbai because of Nirupam. Not many in Mumbai Congress agree with Nirupam’s approach but most have kept quiet given the fact that Nirupam so far enjoys Rahulji’s trust," said an MRCC functionary requesting anonymity.

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