High drama was witnessed at a meeting of the Maharashtra Congress on Monday, which saw Energy Minister Nitin Raut lash out at state party president and his Cabinet colleague Balasaheb Thorat.
In Mumbai on a two-day trip, All India Congress Committee Maharashtra in charge H K Patil had convened a meeting of party leaders belonging to the Scheduled Castes. Thorat, Raut, former chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad among others were present for the meeting.
Objecting to the party nominating singer and activist Annirudha Vankar as one of the four MLC candidates from the party for the Legislative Council seats available under the Governor’s quota, many SC leaders blamed that party’s state leadership for ignoring them, said party insiders.
Vankar had contested the Assembly polls last year on a Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi ticket.
Raut, also Congress’ all India SC cell head, put Thorat in a tight spot when he said that even he was kept in the dark about the nomination, said sources.
A demand for an inquiry on how Vankar was nominated was made by some of those present.
The SC leaders also accused the state leadership of not grooming young leaders from the backward caste, said party leaders.
In another meeting presided over by Patil, sources said Raut complained how he did not receive “cooperation” from other senior Congress ministers when his proposal for offering subsidy in power bills to domestic consumers was stalled by the NCP-led finance department.
Meanwhile, the Congress has finally fast-tracked attempts to appoint a full-time president for the Mumbai party unit, with Patil holding consultations with Mumbai corporators.
The party has gone without a full-time president since last July when former MP Milind Deora stepped down from the post.
Also, the Maharashtra Congress will organised a statewide agitation on Thursday to support the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Delhi.
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