Kamat keeps away from party emissaries

Supporters rally around veteran leader day after he quit Congress

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: June 8, 2016 2:23:35 pm
Rahul Gandhi, Congress, BJP, Sonia Gandhi, Gurudas Kamat, Kamat, Congress Mumbai, Congress Mumbai chief, Shiv Sena Congress supporters outside Kamat’s residence in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

A day after resigning from the party, former Union minister Gurudas Kamat kept his distance from emissaries sent by the Congress top bosses.

Many of Kamat’s supporters spent the day outside his Chembur residence. Most of them targeted Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, criticising him for the way he handles the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

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“Discontent among party leaders has grown in the past one-and-a-half years. Even when Rahul Gandhi visited Mumbai, he had advised Nirupam to take everyone together, but it doesn’t seem like he got the message. He continued with his same unilateral style,” said a former corporator and a local Congress functionary.

Many claimed that Nirupam had appointed his loyalists to key party posts without taking senior leaders into confidence.

Rahul Gandhi, Congress, BJP, Sonia Gandhi, Gurudas Kamat, Kamat, Congress Mumbai, Congress Mumbai chief, Shiv Sena Former Union minister and ex-Congress Mumbai chief Gurudas Kamat, announced his retirement from politics, on June 7.

Party workers who gathered outside Kamat’s residence claimed there were issues with the way the party was being run in the city. “The work that has been going on in the last six months could have been done in a better way. He (Kamat) is a senior leader and he may have been hurt by the way things were taking shape,” said former NSUI president Sadaf Aboli. Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre said: “Within six months, we have an election coming up in the city and we need someone like him.”

Nirupam, however, sounded unfazed: “Gurudas Kamat’s resignation is an issue between him and the party high command.”

Kamat remained incommunicado Tuesday. His office circulated a message in the morning in which he said he had the highest regard for the Gandhi family and that he would continue to be active doing social work. “Retiring from politics does not mean retiring from social work,” the message read. He, however, chose not to interact with senior party leaders. Former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan tried to get in touch with Kamat but did not succeed.

“I am still not clear about the reasons over which he resigned. Till I personally meet him, it won’t be right to comment on anything else about the party,” said Ashok Chavan. Prithviraj Chavan said Kamat was an important leader whose services were required by the party.

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