After a two-and-a-half years, Mumbai has got a new Congress president in the lawyer and three-time MLA, Janardhan Chandurkar.
The tussle among various factions had delayed the decision, but Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s pitch for a non-controversial figure was finally accepted by the high command, according to sources in the party.
On September 13, 2010, a meeting of senior leaders, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates and the district presidents passed a unanimous resolution, authorising party president Sonia Gandhi to appoint the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) and Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) presidents, as their tenures ended.
However, no one was appointed, not even after MRCC president Kripa Shankar Singh resigned in February 2012, following his prosecution ordered by the Bombay High Court under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Mr Singh had already sent in his resignation after the Congress’s poor showing in the Mumbai civic polls in February that year, what with factionalism at its peak.
Mr. Chandurkar represented Kherwadi in Bandra three times and is a former professor in two city colleges. A member of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), he is expected to offset the loss of the party ally, Ramdas Athavale, whose Republican Party of India faction switched to the saffron coalition, a move that affected the Congress in key areas in the civic polls. Mumbai has significant clusters of the SCs, and the Congress hopes it will regain their confidence especially after its promise to set up the Dr Ambedkar memorial in the Indu Mills compound, a project that was sanctioned by the Centre.
A year before the Assembly polls and the general election, the Congress has at last done what it should have before the civic polls and quelled the feuds that hampered the party’s image and unity in the city. Now, the high command is expected to take a call on the State Congress president. The outgoing president, Manikrao Thakre, is not expected to get another term, and the party could seriously be considering ending the domination of presidents from the Vidarbha region for the last 13 years, the sources said.