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Milind Deora May Not Contest 2019 Polls, Blames Sanjay Nirupam For Problems in Mumbai Congress

Earlier, there were reports of infighting within the Mumbai Congress over Lok Sabha seat-sharing. The party’s parliamentary board meeting held last week had reportedly failed to finalise the list of candidates for the upcoming elections.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:February 9, 2019, 9:57 PM IST
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New Delhi: The infighting within the Mumbai Congress that has been gaining momentum over the past few months seems to have scalped its first victim – party MP Milind Deora – who has declared that he may not contest the upcoming elections.

Deora had clashed with Sanjay Nirupam for the position of party president in the state but had lost out. “It is no secret that there are problems in the party,” said Deora as he opened up about the infighting in an interview with CNN-News18.

A former MP from Mumbai South and at present part of the Congress’ publicity committee for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Deora said Nirupam’s leadership had failed party members.

“I am hurt and disappointed. Many Congress leaders are sitting at home today. One should talk to these Congress leaders about why they feel dejected, disillusioned,” he said.

He said discrimination and lack of unity were to be blamed for party’s bleak state of affairs in Mumbai.

When asked if Priya Dutt's decision to stay away from active electoral politics was because of this infighting, he said her decision was based on personal reasons.

"But, if you ask me, is there a problem in Mumbai Congress? Yes, there is. Can it be ironed out? Certainly, Yes," he said. "I think Priya’s letter and her reason of not fighting elections was more from her personal space. I know her well and I have spoken to her. It was about her not being interested in active electoral party politics," he added.

Earlier, there were reports of infighting within the unit over Lok Sabha seat-sharing. The party’s parliamentary board meeting held last week had reportedly failed to finalise the list of candidates for the upcoming elections.

Nirupam is reportedly being adamant on contesting from Mumbai West and not Mumbai North. Deora is said to have objected to the demand.

“I may not want to fight elections due to this infighting,” said Deora, adding that he has spoken to Congress president Rahul Gandhi about the matter and conveyed his concerns.

The 42-year-old leader, however, does not wish to take responsibility of fixing anything in the party.

The 42-year-old leader said, “I don't want to wash our dirty linen in public. Am sure the party leadership will take care of it,” adding, “If the party doesn't fix this, it may affect poll performance.”

Deora and Nirupam have been involved in a tussle over the party’s leadership in Mumbai for some time.

Analysts said Nirupam was made the president because the party needed a Marathi face to take on the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the state.

“In the Congress, earlier it had never mattered which community you belonged to,” said Deora.

Nirupam had served as a Shiv Sena leader nearly 14 years ago. He left the party to join the Congress and quickly rose to prominence.

Charting out the Maharashtra politics playbook, Deora said that anyone who wins Mumbai has more chances of coming to power in Maharashtra.

“Mumbai is the cultural and economic capital. We need people to bring people together. The Congress is in need of some leader who will bring people together,” he said, hinting at the need for greater unity within the party here.​

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| Edited by: Aditya Sharma
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