Lok Sabha Election 2019

Demotivated, unorganised Congress gets ready for poll battle

All quiet: The Mumbai Congress office wears a deserted look on Wednesday.

All quiet: The Mumbai Congress office wears a deserted look on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

more-in

Neither has the alliance been finalised, nor inner-party disputes sorted: sources

With barely a month to go for voting in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, the State unit of the Congress finds itself unorganised, leaderless and demotivated so much that even a day after senior Congressman and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s son, Sujay, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), not a single leader has spoken on the issue.

Discontent among party ranks is visible across the State with a senior leader admitting that the party not only failed to gauge the impact but is facing humiliation in the very first week since announcement of elections. Another leader, talking to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, questioned the party’s silence over Mr. Vikhe-Patil.

“Of course it is humiliating for the party and is a big setback. Everyone had guessed this would happen, but not a single leader from the party could do anything about it. The party continued holding discussions with NCP for Ahmednagar south seat despite that, which itself shows that the house is not in the order,” said Abhay Deshpande, political commentator and senior journalist.

The Congress leader pointed out that neither has the alliance been finalised in Maharashtra nor inner-party disputes over the candidate selection have been sorted. The mess in the party was highlighted last month, when a group of party leaders had revolted against Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam. Former MP Priya Dutt, who had initially announced she would not be contesting the polls, reversed her decision, hinting that her announcement was more about pressure tactics. Party’s campaigns highlighting farmers’ issues and government’s failure did not gather momentum in the rural parts of the States. “It could not set the narrative in the agrarian belt. There was no coordination with the NCP which too was holding similar yatras,” said the leader.

For the last several years there have been murmurs over Mr. Vikhe-Patil being soft on the BJP-led State government and particularly on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Fear of losing the LoP post to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), kept him on the position for all these years. Maharashtra unit president Ashok Chavan too was criticised by many for not being proactive. The party in-charges sent from Delhi could barely have any impact as the party continued to be lethargic and non-productive.

Not quitting: Vikhe-Patil

Amid speculations, Mr. Vikhe-Patil on Wednesday denied reports that and he has resigned from the party.

“No, it is not true,” Mr. Vikhe-Patil told The Hindu when asked whether he will be resigning. He however, did not reply as to whether Congress leadership has asked him to resign.

Talks about Mr. Vikhe-Patil being asked to resign were rife since his son joined the BJP. Replying to a text message sent by The Hindu, Mr. Vikhe-Patil clarified that no such decision has been taken.

However, sources said Mr. Vikhe-Patil may submit his resignation to the party leadership on Thursday.

Sujay Vikhe-Patil on Wednesday morning held a meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to seek his party’s support in Ahmednagar south constituency where he will fighting as BJP candidate.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 8:28:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/demotivated-unorganised-congress-gets-ready-for-poll-battle/article26525857.ece

Next Story