Cong MLAs, supporters, come to blows over Rahul Gandhi's Mumbai visit

Arif Naseem Khan and Aslam Sheikh clashed over the venue of Gandhi’s visit; while the former felt it should be held at the MRCC office, Sheikh wanted it at a school in North Mumbai

Two legislators of the Congress and their supporters came to blows yesterday, at a meeting held for preparing party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the city later this week.

Arif Naseem Khan (left) and Aslam Sheikh outside the MRCC office, where Nirupam showcased them to the media after he made the two call a truce
Arif Naseem Khan (left) and Aslam Sheikh outside the MRCC office, where Nirupam showcased them to the media after he made the two call a truce

Party workers who attended the meeting at the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) office, said that Arif Naseem Khan and Aslam Sheikh had a verbal clash, which later turned into a fracas between their supporters. This happened in full view of MRCC chief Sanjay Nirupam and other senior leaders including legislators and ex-MPs like Milind Deora and Priya Dutt.

Sanjay Nirupam laughs as he leaves after the ruckus. Pics/Shadab Khan
Sanjay Nirupam laughs as he leaves after the ruckus. Pics/Shadab Khan

Sources said the verbal duel started when Khan suggested that Gandhi’s interaction with party workers be held at the MRCC office instead of a school in north Mumbai. Nirupam had suggested a school in his constituency because Shanmukhanand Auditorium did not have a vacant slot on January 15, the first day of Gandhi’s two-day tour of Mumbai.

When Khan’s suggestion was endorsed by most representatives, Sheikh, a close aide of Nirupam, objected saying that north Mumbai should also get an opportunity to host Gandhi. The argument between the two ensued after Khan’s supporters accused Sheikh of getting personal with the MLA. Sheikh’s supporters too, did not budge, and charged Khan of targetting their leader for no reason.

Sources said all hell broke loose when the two groups got physical with each other. It stopped when senior leaders and Nirupam intervened.

He made the warring leaders call a truce and took them out to showcase before media persons. Khan has been demanding Niru-pam’s resignation over the mouthpiece controversy, while Sheikh is a close aide of Nirupam.

Interaction with students
Meanwhile, it was decided that Gandhi will have an interaction with students at Narsee Monjee Institute in Parle on January 16. The leader will also lead a march in the city on January 16. He will also address a media conference.

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