Want Dr Amarjit Singh Manhas to be city Congress president, leaders tell Mallikarjun Kharge

Updated: Jan 24, 2020, 07:27 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

The Congress is also expected to look for a new state Congress chief as the present head, Balasaheb Thorat, has been made the revenue minister

File picture of Dr Amarjit Singh Manhas with Rahul Gandhi. Pic/Twitter
File picture of Dr Amarjit Singh Manhas with Rahul Gandhi. Pic/Twitter

A delegation of Congress leaders on Thursday raised their demand to elect Dr Amarjit Singh Manhas as the president of the city party unit during the meeting with AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge. The state in-charge, after listening to the leaders' demand patiently, asked them to approach the party high command in New Delhi.

Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) vice-president Zakir Ahmed confirmed the meeting. "We did not oppose anyone's name, but tried to convince Mr Kharge why Manhas should be given an opportunity to lead the party's city unit. As advised by the state prabhari (in-charge), we will also meet our top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to present our request," he told mid-day.

About two dozen Congress leaders, including ex-ministers, ex-legislators and Manhas himself, were present at the meeting with Kharge in the city. Former social welfare minister
Chandrakant Handore led the proposal for Manhas as MRCC president, a position currently held by
Eknath Gaikwad.

Baldev Khosa, Alka Desai, Yusuf Abrahani, Rajan Bhosale, Virendra Upadhyay, Upendra Doshi, Dharmesh Vyas, Pravin Naik, B G Shinde, Shivji Singh, Zakir Ahmed, Rajesh Sharma, Mahendra Salvi, Nasim Mitha, Bhavna Jain, Kisan Mistry, Mahesh Maalik, Prashant Patil, Vinay Patil, Ketan Shah and Ajit Singh also attended the meeting with Kharge.

Earlier this month, the same group of leaders had met to build consensus on Manhas's candidature. Two other contenders — MLC Bhai Jagtap and ex-MLC Charan Singh Sapra
— were also lobbying hard to get the post in case the AICC decides to make organisational changes.

Not many months ago, Sanjay Nirupam was the MRCC head for almost four years, but he was replaced by Milind Deora ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

After party's defeat in the elections, Deora quit. But his resignation was put on hold until Gaikwad took charge of the MRCC office before the Assembly polls.

The Congress is also expected to look for a new state Congress chief as the present head, Balasaheb Thorat, has been made the revenue minister.

Who is Manhas

A low-profile Sikh leader, Amarjit Singh Manhas is now a member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) and the MRCC vice-president. A student of politics and a PhD holder from Mumbai University, Manhas has risen through the ranks, starting his career from MU politics. Manhas grew in politics under the shadow of late Gurudas Kamat, former MRCC president and union minister. He was also the chairman of MHADA (Mumbai board) and held several low and mid-level positions in the MRCC.

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