IN A setback to the Mumbai Congress and its president Sanjay Nirupam, former legislator Ramesh Singh Thakur resigned from primary membership of the party alleging that the “dictatorial style” of functioning of the city unit was detrimental to the interests of the party. Following Thakur’s resignation, Sagar, his son and also a Congress corporator, is also likely to put in his papers.
With Thakur having represented an Assembly segment in Kandivli that is part of Nirupam’s former Lok Sabha constituency, and given that he is also a ‘north Indian’ as Nirupam, the resignation is seen as a setback to the Mumbai Congress chief. Sources in the party said Thakur might join the BJP.
Incidentally, Sagar’s ward no 26 (Hanuman Nagar in Kandivli) was split into two in the delimitation process conducted on Monday ahead of the BMC elections scheduled early next year. Both wards have now been reserved for OBC candidates. The twin resignations assume significance as the civic polls are are drawing near. It may affect the Congress’s north Indian vote bank in the region, say observers.
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In his resignation letter, Thakur said the condition of the party in Mumbai had deteriorated over the last one and a half years. “There is dictatorial attitude at all levels. The current city president is ignoring the senior and loyal party activists and attempts are being made to create factionalism. In my constituency, appointments of local office-bearers are made without consultation with me and other senior leaders. It has led to a lot of anger among the activists,” Thakur said in his written statement.
Despite repeated requests, he added, there has been no change in the functioning of the party presidents. “I have received the letter. The higher-ups will take a call on it,” said Nirupam, refusing to make further comments. However, sources in the Congress said that Thakur might be likely to join the BJP soon. “He has not been attending the party programmes for the last two months. We have been hearing that he has been in touch with the BJP leadership over the last two months. A top state BJP leader is likely to come to his college event in a week wherein he is likely to join the party,” said a leader from Congress.
The leader added that Thakur needed to be in the BJP to push for his business projects. “He is a businessman and not party loyal. So, it seems he needs to have some influence in the government to get his projects cleared.” When contacted, Thakur rubbished the talks about his joining the BJP. “I have been attending all the programmes of the party regularly. I have resigned from the party as there is a lot of dictatorship. We are not being consulted for making any appointments or decisions. It looks like that they don’t need us now and are throwing us out,” he said.
Sagar said that though he was not upset with the party, he would resign. “I have been following in the footsteps of my father in politics and will continue to do so in future. If my father has resigned, I will also resign,” he told The Indian Express.