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Mad scramble for Mumbai Congress president post

Mumbai, Mar 24, 2013, DHNS: 0:33 IST
A mad scramble is on to grab the coveted Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief post that has been lying vacant since the ignominious exit of its former occupant Kripa Shankar Singh last year.

Singh was forced to step down from this powerful chair after his name cropped up during investigations into a multi-crore scam involving former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda.

Ironically, if the grapevine is to be believed then Singh is still hoping for a comeback and is pulling all strings to see that the post remains empty as elections are just round the corner.

However, notwithstanding Singh's covert pulling, several contenders have been making a beeline for to Delhi, after All-India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi witnessing a total chaos at Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee party office early this month, remarke: “It's time MPCC had a chief.”

The remark even though has sparked off hopes among aspirants, party leaders are extremely wary in installing a newcomer on the chair in view of the impending general elections.

No party funds

Party sources say that former city chiefs like Murli Deora and Gurudas Kamat, known for not just being able to raise party funds but also adroit management in tackling political opponents, have shown no interest in taking over the post; the runners in the race now has names like Sanjay Nirupam, Eknath Gaikwad, Bhai Jagtap,Muzzafar Hussain and Veerendra Baxi.

Nirupam though jumping from one studio to another, has more detractors inside the party than outside; whilst he has been trying hard to lobby for the post, he is being viewed as a gatecrasher who at one time as an editor of the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, spat venom at Congress.

His remarks at the Sunil Dutt and Hindi film icon Dilip Kumar, still simmers and continues to haunt him even though he keeps on presenting himself as more loyal than the king.
Baxi, a former chairman of MHADA, is reportedly considered as one of the favourites; apart from being an articulate Gujarati, his proximity to the central party leaders also stands in good stead.

However, state leaders during their meeting with Rahul Gandhi emphasized that the new city chief should be the one who can also take on the growing clout of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

While Shiv Sena may not emerge as a powerful party, the MNS is certainly on the rise and it also has a covert support from Congress own ally- the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
It is precisely for this reason that several of them have put forward names of Dalit leader Gaikwad and trade unionist Jagtap; both of them are veterans and well-versed with Mumbai psyche.

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