Two weeks after announcing his political sanyas, the former MP is back in the Congress
Former Congress MP Gurudas Kamat has decided to stay with the party, which he had quit on June 6. He said on Thursday that party president Sonia Gandhi helped him change his mind.
Supporters welcome Gurudas Kamat after he decided to stay in Congress yesterday
The leader’s resignation was essentially blamed on mismanagement of party affairs in Mumbai, and because he and his supporters were sidelined. Primarily, the Kamat camp wasn’t happy with incumbent Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, who has been given a free hand by none other than party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Kamat had not only resigned from all positions in the Congress but also announced political sanyas. He had decided to work as a social worker. Following his decision, his supporters had staged a show of strength to convince him to return.
Kamat had said in his statement that was released after resigning, that there was no reply to his resignation letter from the Gandhis, so he decided to retire from politics. He said he felt that he had been sidelined to enable others to get an opportunity.
On Thursday, he told the media what made him change his mind and continue work as all-India general secretary in charge of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu.
“In the past fortnight, a large number of senior party leaders tried to convince me to rethink the decision. My meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi helped me make up my mind that the Congress party is the best platform to serve the people of this country,” he said, explaining his return to the party fold.
“I had about two weeks ago sent my resignation as general secretary, All India Congress Committee, and from the Congress party, purely for personal reasons, to concentrate on social service minus any party tag,” he said.
Kamat said he would continue to serve under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. “I will be meeting the people in my in-charge states starting June 24 (today),” he said.
Kamat’s comeback is seen as a balancing act ahead of the BMC polls, in which the Congress is required to reduce internal clashes if it wishes to fight the Shiv Sena and BJP with some semblance of stability.
The comeback, which he says is at the behest of Sonia, may bolster the party as he wields considerable influence in the city. On the other hand, Nirupam claims to have a mandate from Rahul Gandhi to work his mind on electoral plans for the BMC. In such a scenario, the two Mumbai leaders are expected to run into each other over crucial issues in future as well.
Kamat’s resignation had once again revived a debate on increasing clashes between the loyalist leaders and those who have defected to the Congress from other parties.
“The party leadership has tried to minimise the damage to the party by retaining Kamat. But the internal clashes will continue unabated and may need the high command’s consistent intervention,” said a senior Congress leader.