Will Mumbai BJP benefit out of the factionalism-riddled Congress?

Rohit Chandavarkar
Saturday, 22 September 2018

Nirupam has always been known for his over aggressive style of functioning and is known to be very active in north Mumbai and other areas with the backing of his north Indian voter base. Deora, as the son of veteran leader Murli Deora, is basically a Gandhi family loyalist but also highly connected in the corporate world and is the sophisticated south Mumbai face of the party. The leadership in Delhi wants both of them to ideally coexist. But it seems that these two will just not get along and will constantly fight for domination.

The untimely death of firebrand Congress leader Gurudas Kamat has somewhat rocked the Congress Party’s boat in Mumbai city. Gurudas Kamat, known as a staunch Gandhi family loyalist, died of a heart attack suddenly at the age of 63. Kamat held widespread influence over city Congress cadre for several decades and ever since his youth Congress days, was seen as a pillar of the city Congress. Looking at the typical way in which Congress Party’s state or metro city units function, its no surprise that Kamat’s exit has suddenly resulted in certain groups getting together and staging a coup against current Congress Party city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam. 
  
Just days after Kamat’s demise, a group of Mumbai city Congress leaders raised the flag against Nirupam in their meeting with central Congress party observer for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge.

Reportedly, this coup was led by young leader and former minister Milind Deora and party state spokesperson Janardan Chandurkar. The Congress Party in Mumbai has for decades together seen the arch rivalry between Deora group and Kamat group. Now, it seems that the same factionalism and rivalry will be seen between party loyalists such as Milind Deora and Chandurkar on one side and aggressive leader such as Sanjay Nirupam on the other side.

Nirupam has always been known for his over aggressive style of functioning and is known to be very active in north Mumbai and other areas with the backing of his north Indian voter base. Deora, as the son of veteran leader Murli Deora, is basically a Gandhi family loyalist but also highly connected in the corporate world and is the sophisticated south Mumbai face of the party. The leadership in Delhi wants both of them to ideally coexist. But it seems that these two will just not get along and will constantly fight for domination.

The twist in this tale of factionalism in Congress came a few days ago when another party loyalist and Sanjay Nirupam’s rival Kripashankar Singh was seen welcoming Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence at his Ganesh pooja. Many remembered how just a year ago CM Fadnavis was seen visiting Konkan leader Narayan Rane and that led to Rane later exiting the Congress Party! Since Sanjay Nirupam joined the Congress Party, Kripashankar who is his arch rival in north Mumbai was complaining that his supporters were being sidelined within the party to accommodate Nirupam’s supporters. Now, with the news of Kripashankar Singh welcoming BJP’s Chief Minister at his residence coming in, the buzz is about whether Kripashankar will exit the party!

The high command of Congress in Delhi has always encouraged rivalry among various leaders in every state or city unit of the party. It is their way of keeping the leaders in check and maintaining balance in the party. But the Mumbai city unit of the party has only suffered in the past 20 years because this policy of encouraging rivalry of the party high command has led to too much factionalism in the unit.

Till now, the Shiv Sena was the main beneficiary of Congress factionalism in Mumbai. Now, it seems that it will be the fast expanding 
Mumbai unit of the BJP which may be the  beneficiary!  

The great divide
The high command of Congress in Delhi has always encouraged rivalry among various leaders in every state or city unit of the party. It is their way of keeping the leaders in check and maintaining balance in the party. But the Mumbai city unit of the party has only suffered in the past 20 years because this policy of encouraging rivalry of the party high command has led to too much factionalism in the unit. Till now, the Shiv Sena was the main beneficiary of the Congress factionalism in Mumbai. Now, it seems that it will be the fast expanding Mumbai unit of the BJP which may be the beneficiary! 

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