Congress leader and ex-MP Milind Deora, who so far has stayed away from any controversy, has expressed his displeasure to party’s high command in a private message over the public opinion that is being created against him, allegedly by some people who are planting stories in local newspapers.
Deora has told Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president Sanjay Nirupam to mind his duty of identifying and inviting leaders from Mumbai and beyond to campaign all over the city for the BMC polls as the onus for it lies solely with MRCC and Nirupam.
On Friday, Deora sent out a private message to Nirupam, which was marked to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, general secretary in-charge of state Mohan Prakash and senior Mumbai leaders. In it, he said that he was neither upset nor happy over his supporters being denied or given poll tickets.
Apparently, what upset the former union home minister was a series of news reports that said he was doing nothing for campaigning, despite heading the campaign committee for the February 21 BMC polls. He wants Nirupam to stop such bad publicity, coordinate and fulfil his obligation of strong campaigning, so that contrary stories are not planted in the news media. “Unfortunately this has been happening for the past several months and does little to help the party’s prospects in Mumbai,” he said in the message.
“Regardless of whether or not all of Murlibhai (Milind’s late father) and my supporters have been given tickets, in the interest of our party and as per the directions of Rahulji, I have been working sincerely and wholeheartedly right from the very beginning,” he said. He further told Nirupam that he had done his job as chairman of the campaign committee.
“As you are aware, I have discharged my duties for the Mumbai municipal elections faithfully as chairman (of) campaign committee and have participated in and addressed all major MRCC rallies and programmess,” he said.
Deora did not spare the leaders who had withdrawn from the campaign, but then changed their mind. He did not name any leader though but it is a known fact that ex-MRCC chief Gurudas Kamat, MLA Naseem Khan and ex-CM Narayan Rane are among such disgruntled leaders.
Kamat, Khan and Rane, who were upset over Nirupam’s working style, have now started campaigning in the city. Some leaders are still staying away from party campaign. A senior party observer who has been sent by high command is monitoring the situation very closely.
Deora said disgruntled leaders did not bother him. “I am not keeping track of who is sulking or who wishes to campaign for the party, as this changes every day. The onus of identifying and inviting leaders from Mumbai and beyond to campaign all over the city lies solely with MRCC and you (Nirupam),” he said, adding that the president should ensure that stories that are detrimental to party and its leaders are not planted in news media.
“I request you to coordinate and fulfil this (campaign) obligation so that contrary stories are not planted in the news media. Unfortunately, this has been happening for the past several months and does little to help the party’s prospects in Mumbai,” he said.
When mid-day contacted Deora, he confirmed that it was his message. “I do not wish to comment on private messages that party leaders may have shared with media. Rahul Gandhi has asked me to support Sanjay Nirupam and I have requested Priya Dutt, Eknath Gaikwad and other prominent leaders to join me in campaigning for the party across Mumbai,” he said.
Responding to Deora’s reaction, Nirupam said, “I request all party leaders to join hands for ensuring Congress’ victory in BMC polls. Issues, if any, can always be sorted out through healthy discussion.”