PUNE: As the stage is getting ready for the upcoming Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections, it is no wonder that differences in Pune city Congress have suddenly come up to the fore. This was evident after Narendra Vyawahare, General Secretary, Pune city Congress unit, has put up sarcastic flex boards just 100 metres from Congress Bhavan stating ‘We are loyalist Congress party workers and not the followers of few rich party leaders’.
Generally during election time, such kind of posters erupt in the city and party workers try to show their loyalties. Vyawahare has put posters at Omkareshwar Chowk, which is just 100 metres from Congress Bhavan in Shivajinagar area.
The flex says ‘Congress party does not belong to rich people but it is a party, which runs on the school of thoughts of Jedhe, More and Gadgil (Keshavrao Jedhe, Kakasaheb Gadgil, Shankarrao More were the prominent Pune Congress leaders who dominated State and national politics during the 70s and 80s). We are strong followers of these leaders and loyalist Congress workers’. Interestingly, the flex boards do not mention the name of any city Congress leader.
A few months ago, some Congress party workers had put up flexes alleging blame for the downfall of the party in the city. Although, they did not mention the name of any leader, they had pointed out the name of the city (Sangli). Apparently, Vishwajeet Kadam belongs to this city. He was Congress’ Lok Sabha candidate from Pune constituency in 2014. In the posters, workers had put the onus on Kadam for his incompetence.
When Sakal Times contacted Vyawahare to know more about his views, he refrained from talking on the issue, saying, “I am busy and I will talk to you the next day.” Vyawahare is known as a strong follower of Congress senior leader Ulhas Pawar.
On the other side, Ramesh Bagwe, Congress city unit chief, disappointed with the flexes, said, “Party has given too much to Vyawahare. He is general secretary. Besides that, party has given him the post of Vice President of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) School Board. But, he has not done anything for the party. I don’t know why he has suddenly started criticising the party. This is not the platform to discuss any differences. We conduct party meetings every Saturday to discuss different issues. He could tell us about his disappointment in these meetings. Already party is going through a bad patch and this kind of act is not tolerable. Congress is not a party, it is a thought and movement. This kind of criticism doesn’t serve any purpose. Earlier, some party workers had tried to damage party unity. But nothing had happened.”