Veteran Dalit leader Eknath Gaikwad is Mumbai Cong head

Veteran Dalit leader Eknath Gaikwad is Mumbai Cong head

The Congress on Friday appointed veteran leader Eknath Gaikwad as the acting president of its Mumbai unit, replacing Milind Deora, who had quit after the debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

79-year-old Gaikwad was appointed as the Working president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee in July, soon after Deora, following offered to step down owning responsibility for the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress leaders were hopeful of convincing 42-year-old Deora to withdraw his resignation and continue in the post at least till the Assembly elections due in October were over.

However, Deora stuck to his stand and refused to withdraw his resignation. "Congress president has approved the proposal for appointment of Eknath Gaikwad, working president, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) as the acting president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) in place of Milind Deora," AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal said in a statement.

A former Lok Sabha member, Gaikwad enjoys good relations with almost all the leaders in the MRCC.

"I am happy that my pending resignation as president, MRCC has been accepted. I am grateful to the Congress for having been given the opportunity to serve Mumbai," Deora said soon after Gaikwad's announcement was announced.

Born on January 1, 1940, Gaikwad took his first political steps as a Youth Congress worker and rose within the ranks to become an MLA in 1985. He was the Minister of State for Public Health, Medical Education & Family Welfare in the Maharashtra government from 1999 to 2004.

Gaikwad was elected to Lok Sabha from Mumbai South Central in 2004 and retained the seat in 2009. However, he lost the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale.