'Kalmadi won't be invited for Rahul Gandhi's visit'

Sep 23, 2013, 00:17 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

State Congress president Manikrao Thakre said that the tainted city MP would not be extended an invitation, as he no longer represents the party

Faced with a barrage of questions on tainted city MP, Suresh Kalmadi’s, the state Congress party president Manikrao Thakre said that he [Kalmadi] would not be invited to meet the party’s national vice president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to the city on October 25.

During an interaction with mediapersons yesterday, Thakre said, “ Kalmadi is no more representing the party and therefore there is no question of inviting him to meet Rahul Gandhi.”

He added that Gandhi is coming to meet party workers from the district to strengthen the organisational structure of the party.

When asked why the U-turn against Kalmadi, whom he praised a few days ago during the Pune Festival, Thakre said there was nothing wrong in praising anyone in a public event.

While replying to the query whether the party would announce its prime ministerial candidate like the BJP, Thakre, without mentioning Rahul Gandhi’s name, said there was no urgency to declare the candidate, as they have always accepted only one leadership.

“It’s not necessary for us like other parties to arrive at consensus on any name for the prime ministerial candidate, as our leader has already being decided,” added Thakre.

NCP seat-sharing
Thakre said that he was curious to know why this time their ally NCP wanted 22 seats when the 29 (Congress)-19 (NCP) formula had already been decided by both parties.

“In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party released six seats from its own share and gave 22 seats to NCP. However, the NCP emerged victorious in only 8 of the 22 seats. Therefore, this time the decision on how many seats to be given to NCP is my prerogative,” Thakre said.

The Congress state president also claimed that the party has an efficient candidate to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha election from the city, and there is no need to borrow a candidate from any other party.

Dabholkar’s murder
Speaking on the investigation status of the Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s broad daylight murder, Thakre said that even after a month of the incident there was no significant progress in the case. “If the cops are clueless, then the case should be handed over to other investigative agencies,” Thakre said.

MLC Sanjay Dutt comes to Thakre’s rescue
Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt who earlier quit his MLC seat for CM Prithviraj Chavan in 2011, this time also came forward as an ‘honest party man’ to save Thakre when media persons were bombarding him with questions about Kalmadi.

When Thakre was unable to give replies to the pointed questions, Dutt got up from his seat and whispered in his ear, after which Thakre passed on the mike to Sukhpal Singh Khaira who was sent by Congress from Delhi as party observer.

Even after that moment, Dutt sent two chits with messages to Thakre following which Thakre did not touch the mike again. However, when MiD DAY contacted Dutt, he said that he had sent a message giving information about the schedule of Thakre’s Nagpur flight in the evening.  

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