After facing a humiliating defeat in the 2019 general elections the Congress camp is yet to recover from the jolt. Dissent and leadership crisis has plagued the grand old party, which added a few seats to its total of 44 in 2014 general elections to arrive at dismal 52 in 2019; however, the margin of victory has been considerably reduced. Tall leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia even Rahul Gandhi have lost from erstwhile strongholds of the Congress.
In Maharashtra, a major contributor towards the national tally, NDA repeated its stellar performance by winning on 41 out of the total 48 Parliamentary Constituencies in the state. UPA, on the other hand, replicated its dismal performance like in other states, In Maharashtra, Congress just won on 1 out of the total 25 seats it contested on and alliance partner NCP only emerging victorious on 4 seats out of the total 19 seats it contested on. Even senior leaders of the Congress like Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora lost from Nanded and Mumbai South respectively.
The recent resignation of Mumbai Congress Chief, Milind Deora has further sparked the debate around the performance of Congress in Mumbai. Internal fights and dissent have been peaking since the grand old party’s electoral plans took a nose dive post the 2019 election results. Now a letter written by unsuccessful Congress candidate for Mumbai North, Urmila Matondkar has surfaced. In the letter written on May 16, actor turned politician has highlighted the failure of party leadership at the local level on coordination, mobilizing workers at grassroots, failure to provide proper resources to her by the two campaign coordinators. In her letter written to the party leadership, Urmila Matondkar has criticised Sandesh Kondvilkar and Bhushan Patil close associates of Sanjay Nirupam, a former Mumbai Congress president.
In the letter addressed to Milind Deora, the then Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) chief actress-politician accused the duo of showing a “total lack of coordination, honesty and efficiency, ensuring a disastrous outcome” and also accused them of showing disrespect to North Mumbai district Congress president Ashok Sutrale. Urmila Matondkar also pitched for disciplinary action against Sandesh Kondvilkar and Bhushan Patil, she also demanded organizational changes to be made in the party for its smooth functioning in the future.
Sanjay Nirupam not taking the letter well has hit out at Milind Deora after the letter became public. In a tweet, Sanjay Nirupam has accused Milind Deora of leaking the letter to the public. He tweeted, “After making a multilingual appeal to the workers not to quarrel against each other, the ‘young dynast’ has planted this news to ‘stabilize’ the party. The letter was written to him on 16th May and is leaked to media yesterday. Has he learned all this from his ‘mentor’ Jaitley ?”
After making a multilingual appeal to the workers not to quarrel agaist each other,the ‘young dynast’ has planted this news to ‘stabilize’ the party.
The letter was written to him on 16th May and is leaked to media yesterday. Has he learned all this from his ‘mentor’ Jaitley ? pic.twitter.com/opcxb6TTGp
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) July 9, 2019
Meanwhile, Milind Deora, in a statement, said, “A party and it’s ideals are bigger than one individual. Some unpleasant and unwarranted commentary from certain quarters should be ignored and not countered. The Congress party has seen many upheavals and shall overcome this one too.”
Zakir Ahmed, Mumbai Congress vice-president had also slammed Sanjay Nirupam and said, “Nirupam is the most unpopular leader in the Mumbai Congress due to his loud mouth attitude..The election results are a proof of this. In Mumbai, the defeat margins of all candidates has reduced except Nirupam in Mumbai North West.”
Sanjay Nirupam also raised questions over Milind Deora’s resignation and tweeted, “A resignation is linked to the sentiment of sacrifice. In this case, a ‘national’ level post is being sought…is this a resignation or a ladder to grow politically? The party should be cautious of such ‘hard working’ people.”
इस्तीफा में त्याग की भावना अंतर्निहित होती है।
यहां तो दूसरे क्षण ‘नेशनल’ लेवल का पद मांगा जा रहा है।
यह इस्तीफा है या ऊपर चढ़ने की सीढ़ी ?
पार्टी को ऐसे ‘कर्मठ’ लोगों से सावधान रहना चाहिए।
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) July 7, 2019
The current internal situation in Mumbai Congress is a sharp indicator of the prevailing conditions in Congress quarters throughout India. With the power gone, blame game and infighting are peaking in the party with leaders blaming fellow leaders for their defeat. Nonetheless, this letter by Urmila Matondkar, although a loser’s rant, speaks lengths about the extent of the infighting within the party and how it made Milind Deora’s position untenable especially after the humiliating loss.