THE Congress, which was in power in Pimpri-Chinchwad for 15 years till it was voted out a decade ago, is witnessing a fresh turmoil in its ranks in the city. Two days after Sachin Sathe resigned from the post of president of the Pimpri-Chinchwad unit of the Congress, at least 10 office-bearers of the Congress submitted their resignations on Tuesday. Sathe had resigned on Sunday, citing party leadership’s “little interest in the growth of the party in Pimpri-Chinchwad”. “I have resigned from the post of president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Congress. Along with me, several other Congress office-bearers have also resigned,” Sathe told Pune Newsline.
The 10 leaders said they supported the views expressed by Sathe, and there was a pressing need to resurrect the party. Among those who have resigned are Shyamlal Sonawane, Sangram Tawade, Gautam Arkade, Laxman Rupnar, Narendra Bansode, Girija Kudade and Umesh Kandhare. Sathe had submitted his resignation a day after he had met state party leaders and Mallikarjun Kharge Kharge, general secretary of the AICC, who has recently taken over as the party’s Maharashtra in-charge.
The former city unit chief claimed that, during the meeting, he had apprised Kharge of the problems the party had been facing, and the reasons for its bad performance in successive elections. “I told Kharge that the state party leadership has shown little interest towards the growth of the party in Pimpri-Chinchwad. No leader turns up to hold meetings with party leaders and workers, or to boost their morale,” he said.
He further claimed to have told Kharge that the Congress continues to enjoy significant support of the locals, who have been traditional Congress voters. “However, the state party leadership has done little to devise a strategy or carry out drives for the growth of the party. The local unit has received no support from the leaders…,” said Sathe. He further accused the party leadership of “turning a blind eye towards the various demands posed by local leaders”.
Sathe, however, said he has resigned as the president and not from the party. “I wanted to highlight the problems we are facing ahead of the 2019 general and state elections. We want to strengthen the party much before the elections. Every time, as the elections draw closer, we are asked to gear up. But all this should be done much in advance. That is why I have told the party leadership everything that is wrong with the local unit and how the party can become a force to reckon with once again,” he said.
In 2017 civic elections, the Congress drew a blank in Pimpri-Chinchwad as none of its candidates were elected as corporators in a house of 128. In 1986, when the first civic elections were held, the Congress had won a majority in the city. In the two successive elections, in 1992 and 1997, the party had won on its own. However, in 2007 and 2012, the NCP won single-handedly, and Congress was reduced to single-digit figures.