Sanjay Nirupam's 'veteran' remark irks senior Congressmen

The Mumbai Congress chief had said in Delhi that established leaders should welcome young blood into their fold

When it appeared that Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam was set for a smooth sailing in view of support extended by senior leaders in the city unit, his criticism of party veterans has added to his woes.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam

Nirupam, on Thursday, had told a section of New Delhi media that the established leadership was not cooperating with new state unit presidents. He had appealed to established leaders to accept the new leaders, who have been asked to revive the Congress, which is currently going through a low point.

His statement had come in the wake of the heckling of Haryana state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar by former CM B S Hooda’s supporters at the Ramlila Maidan rally.

A day after Nirupam’s statement, party’s media cell chief Randeep Surjewala said in New Delhi that there was no such internal tussle and the party had space for both the young and old guard. He also suggested that Nirupam refrain from making such views public. Congress leaders in Mumbai have taken their chief’s observation with a pinch of salt, though Nirupam told this paper that his statement was made in the context of Haryana.

Nirupam, a new appointee, has been facing opposition from the city Congress’s established leaders. The warring factions had a meeting 12 days ago to sort out differences and it was decided that everyone would support Nirupam in the party’s fight against the ruling parties the BJP and Shiv Sena. A faction led by veteran Gurudas Kamat was seen to be particularly aggressive in its stance against Nirupam.

“Nirupam may say his observation wasn’t about Mumbai, but we surely see it as an attempt to chide senior leaders in Mumbai who have been at odds with him ever since his appointment,” said a senior leader, requesting anonymity.

Another Mumbai leader said that Nirupam must avoid making such statements because the party still had veterans who wielded adequate clout. “Incidentally, Nirupam too developed his prospects and increased his stakes in the Congress by seeking patronage of some distinguished seniors. These leaders helped this ex-Shiv Sena MP to grow,” he said.

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