Crisis in Maharashtra Cong deepens as Shinde speaks out

Internal crisis in Maharashtra Congress deepens as Sushilkumar Shinde speaks out

Our policies may be wrong, but to correct them, such (introspection) sessions are needed, he said

Sushil Kumar Shinder Credit: Facebook Photo/@shrisushilkumarshinde

The internal crisis within the Congress deepened further with Gandhi-family loyalist Sushilkumar Shinde speaking out and calling for introspection and work towards revival of the grand old party.

Shinde (79), a former intelligence officer, who went on to become the Maharashtra chief minister and union minister handling the crucial power and home portfolios in the Dr Manmohan Singh-led UPA dispensation, is one of the most-respected leaders of the party.

"The Congress tradition of holding sessions on debates and dialogue has ended today. I feel sad about it. Introspection meetings are required. Our policies may be wrong, but to correct them, such sessions are needed,” said Shinde.

Shinde’s statement comes at a time when the Congress is passing through a rough phase over the leadership issue.

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Though Shinde is not part of G-23, which wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, his dissenting note is a matter of concern for the party.

Shinde, a Dalit leader, is a protege of NCP supremo and Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar.

A senior leader, Shinde has worked in the government – at the state level, central level and the party. He has been a legislator in Maharashtra and had been a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and had also served as Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

The Shiv Sena, the ruling alliance partner of Congress in Maharashtra has reacted to Shinde’s statement.

“If Sushilkumar Shinde has said something, the party should discuss the issue as he is one of the seniormost Congress leaders and has contributed to the party,” said Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut.  “Shinde saheb is one of the oldest soldiers of the Congress and  if he is expressing his pain, then his party should give it some thought. We are outsiders but we want the Congress party to stay,” he added.

A senior Congress leader, when contacted by DH, said, “Shinde saheb has spoken out…several of us within the party feel the same way. We have to revive the party….the countdown for the 2024 elections has begun already…other parties have started preparing.”

Shinde's outburst comes in the backdrop of recent statements of state-level leaders like Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and his Mumbai counterpart Bhai Jagtap, who are calling for contesting future local bodies, Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha polls in the state on its own strength.

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