Speaking to reporters in a press conference in Mumbai, Sanjay Nirupam said barring 3-4 seats, Congress candidates would "lose their deposits".
Maharashtra Assembly elections: Maharashtra Assembly elections: Rebel Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has predicted a rout for the party in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. Speaking to reporters in a press conference in Mumbai on Friday, Sanjay Nirupam said barring 3-4 seats, Congress candidates would “lose their deposits”.
Reiterating that he won’t take part in the party’s election campaign in the state, Nirupam said he is not quitting the Congress immediately, but added that he would have to take a decision if things don’t improve in the party. “I don’t think I would want to leave the party but if the things within the party continues to be like this, then I don’t think I can be in the party for long. I will not take part in election campaign,” the Congress leader, who was once considered close to former party president Rahul Gandhi, said.
Without taking any names, Nirupam slammed the Congress top brass and said people working closely with Sonia Gandhi, party’s interim president, were biased. He also came down hard on the local party leadership and blamed them for ensuring that he is isolated and eventually pushed to the brink. Nirupam said that he had been targetted by the Mumbai leadership since the Lok Sabha elections but he had chosen to stay quiet. This, he said, also had some impact on the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
Nirupam said that the attacks against him only intensified after the Lok Sabha elections and the snub to consider his sole suggestion for a candidate forced him to go public with his dissent. “At the time of elections, parties strategise, they wait and watch their opponents and then choose their candidates wisely so that we can put up a good fight to our opponent no matter how strong. There is no such thinking or planning in the Congress today,” Nirupam said. “Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi should seriously think whether those who claim to be their loyalists are actually working in the interest of the party or not.”
Nirupam had gone public with his dissent on Thursday after the Congress released its list of candidates for Maharashtra polls, ignoring his recommendations. The leader, who has been miffed with the party ever since he was sidelined during the Lok Sabha elections, had tweeted his discontent over the way poll tickets were being distributed.
“It seems Congress Party doesn’t want my services anymore. I had recommended just one name in Mumbai for Assembly election. Heard that even that has been rejected,” Nirupam had said. He reiterated this view at today’s press conference as well. “If speaking against something that is damaging to the party is indiscipline, the party can take a call. I am willing to accept any decision,” Nirupam said today.
The infighting within the Mumbai unit of the Congress was exposed after actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar blamed Nirupam’s close aides for her Lok Sabha election defeat and creating an internal rift. In her letter to Milind Deora, the then Mumbai Congress head, Matondkar blamed internal petty politics behind her losing the Mumbai North seat. It was Sanjay Nirupam who had reportedly convinced the actor to join politics and contest elections.