The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has urged the state leaders to explain why it was forced to have an alliance with rival BJP in the recently held Zilla Parishad elections in Gondia. The unrest within the local Congress saw the state leaders buckling under pressure to allow the unprecedented tie-up with the BJP to stake claim in the local body.
A senior leader of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) told The Sunday Express, “AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi had cautioned the state leaders. It is possible somebody had already informed him about unrest amongst the local Congress against the NCP.”
State leaders, however, say that local leaders were behind the move. “It appears the decision was driven by local sentiments. Congress MLA and senior leader from Gondia, Gopaldas Agrawal was at the helm of affairs in Zilla Parishad polls. He wields total control in the district and has repeatedly brought in good results.”
Agrawal admitted that local factors forced the alliance. “The sentiments of local members forced the alliance with BJP.”
A party insider said, “NCP had turned down their offer for a pre-poll alliance, which irked the local leaders.” Also Congress suspected NCP would forge an alliance with BJP to keep them out of power in local body politics. NCP leaders deny that charge. A former MPCC chief said, “Why such a hue and cry over Gondia? In past we were deprived of Zilla Parishad president posts in atleast five districts, as NCP had plotted to undermine our strength.”