Top Mumbai Cong leaders away from action

In what comes as a major embarrassment,  senior Congress leaders were missing for nearly two to three hours till Karnataka troubleshooter DK  Shivakumar held the fort for three hours alone outside the Renaissance Hotel at Powai in Mumbai braving intermittent rains. DH photo

In what comes as a major embarrassment,  senior Congress leaders were missing for nearly two to three hours till Karnataka troubleshooter DK  Shivakumar held the fort for three hours alone outside the Renaissance Hotel at Powai in Mumbai braving intermittent rains.

This clearly shows the infighting within the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC),  traditionally one of the most power Congress units across the country.

Shivakumar landed at the Mumbai airport around 8 am and was in the hotel and reached the hotel - where 10 rebel MLAs are holed up -  by 9 am.

Within some time Mumbai Youth Congress leaders started arriving and countered anti-Shivakumar slogans.

It appeared that the absence of top leaders initially also irked Shivakumar who even remembered late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

"I have hosted MLAs from Maharashtra (during the political crisis) when my fried Vilasrao Deshmukh was chief minister. If I start calling them,  they all will come... I do not want to create a scene here," he said. 

Moments later,  there was a tweet from Milind Deora,  who resigned as MRCC president,  that he was reaching by 12.30 pm.  By 11.30 pm,  Sanjay Nirupam was there and post noon Deora and Naseem Khan,  deputy leader of Congress in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly arrived.  By 3 pm,  Shivakumar,  Deora and Khan were detained. 

Senior Mumbai Congress leaders including Deora,  Nirupam and Priya Dutt took to Twitter to express anguish over the developments. 

Nirupam also tried to intervene when cops were taking away Shivakumar.  "He is our guest," he was heard telling cops. "Government machinery was misused," added Deora.

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who has resigned as Maharashtra Congress president tweeted: "This is dictatorship...democracy is being murdered."

The resignation by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC not finding a successor is adding to the problems of the state and city units.

Two senior Congress leaders,  who are often known to criticize their own party and leaders,  came to the defence of leaders. "Frankly speaking there is confusion and chaos... the Congress workers are demoralised after the Lok Sabha results and the crisis withing AICC," they said. 

Another senior leader said that as per the schedule they knew Shivakumar was to arrive at 11 am at the airport and be in the hotel by 12 noon. "But he reached early.... which local unit was caught unawares," he added.

 
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