The Maharashtra Congress legislature party’s maiden meeting turned out to be a stormy affair with some legislators squarely blaming the party leadership for the debacle in the recently-concluded election to the Maharashtra assembly. They also attributed the party’s crushing defeat to a lack of coordination, inadequate financial support to party nominees and factionalism…
Maharashtra Congress legislators made a strong pitch for a change in party leadership by bringing in more new faces, especially youngsters, for the party’s rejuvenation. They warned the party’s strength in the assembly would even deteriorate from the current 42 to just four, if some drastic steps are not taken. As expected, the legislature party meeting did not elect its leader, but passed a one-line resolution authorising Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take a decision in this regard. Incidentally, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who led the party in the State assembly, accepted the moral responsibility of the defeat at the outset, and declared that he was not in the race of the post of legislature party leader.
Sensing the angry mood among legislators, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre said he had already stepped down as the State unit chief, taking the moral responsibility for the defeat. Legislators Sunil Kedar and Gopal
Agarwal (both from Vidarbha region) and former Minister Abdul Sattar from Marathwada region listed out the party’s mistakes that led to its rout in the State. They also hinted at Chavan’s failure to lead the party from the front, citing that the party contested the assembly poll with a ‘defeatist attitude’.
As the tempers were running high, Thakre intervened and asked legislators to personally air their views before Mallikarjun Kharge (leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha) and Mohan Prakash
(general-secretary in-charge of Maharashtra).
Thereafter, the legislators placed their demands before Kharge and Prakash that the party bring on board new faces for its revival in the State. Besides, attention should be paid on a priority basis to rebuild the organisation from the grassroots, they added.