Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi witnessed the divide in the state unit Friday as elected members and office-bearers complained against the state administration under the leadership of CM Prithviraj Chavan. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre and All-India Congress Committee secretary in-charge of the state Mohan Prakash were also at the receiving end with rivals accusing them of plotting to dislodge Chavan.
Rahul was to discuss with Mumbai Congress leaders consolidation of organisation ahead of the 2014 parliament elections,but sharp differences between the MPCC chief and CM came to the fore. Rahul arrived in the city at 9.30 am and drove straight to the Congress headquarters,Tilak Bhavan,in Dadar. He interacted with 300 people from six city units,including ministers,MPs,corporators and office-bearers,for 6 hours. A senior leader present during the interactions said,Supporters of minister for women and child welfare Varsha Gaikwad complained against slow pace of slum redevelopment in Dharavi.
Several members and office-bearers said,The Mumbai Congress presidential post has remained vacant for a year. There have been no appointments made in corporations and committees either,depriving workers of political rights. Rahul summoned Chavan and asked him to reply. CM explained: I can understand the complaints. But how can I agree to get slum redevelopment done by a private developer. I want the work done by government agencies to enable use of additional space and for the government to earn revenue. A section came to the rescue of Chavan.
In an emotional speech with tears rolling down his cheeks,Mumbai vice-president Vasant Nanavare said,How can we have a Mohan Prakash who has spent his life abusing our prime ministers the late Indira and Rajiv Gandhi as Maharashtra in-charge. I see a plot against Chavan.
Others said,Prakash and Thakre have joined hands to dislodge Chavan. This was evident in the manner in which the meeting was convened at Tilak Bhavan,instead of the Mumbai Congress office at CST.
Former Union minister and Mumbai president Gurudas Kamat skipped the meeting. His supporters said,The party did not even extend a decent invitation to him. A fax was received very late. He is in parliament. Chavan appeared disturbed. He said to a supporter,I am working in the larger interest of the people.
However,complaining MPs,MLAs and office-bearers said,If the administration turns a blind eye,we will face problems in our constituencies. We owe an explanation to voters. In all the bickering,the decision on Mumbai Congress chief remained.
Rahul to visit drought-affected
Rahul also held a brief discussion on drought. He told the media he was aware of the situation. I have heard from many people the drought in parts of Maharashtra is severe. I will visit these areas in the near future. The state government is taking good measures to deal with the drought,but each and every party worker should come forward and contribute, he said.