Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora on Sunday resigned from his post, PTI reported. He also recommended setting up a three-member panel to oversee the party unit in the city till the Maharashtra Assembly elections, which will be held later this year.

Deora said he had conveyed his desire to quit after a meeting former Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on June 26. “The same has been conveyed to All India Congress Committee general secretaries Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal,” Deora’s office said in a statement.

The Congress leader said that taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance and negating the impact of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi were the challenges before the Congress in the state. Deora told PTI that political realities had changed. “We all will have to get ready for roles that these times demand,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to a role in the party’s central leadership.

“I have suggested a three-member panel and am being consulted by leaders to identify names,” he said. “I look forward to playing a national role to help stabilise the party. Needless to say, I will continue to guide and unite the Mumbai Congress.”

He said he had accepted the city unit’s presidentship in the interest of uniting the party. “I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi,” Deora added.

Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president on May 25, two days after the party suffered a heavy defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. On July 3, he wrote an open letter to party workers, confirming his decision to step down. Deora had contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency but lost to Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant.

Sanjay Nirupam hits out at Deora

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam accused Deora of coveting a national-level post. “A resignation is linked to the sentiment of sacrifice,” he tweeted. “In this case, a ‘national’ level post is being sought. Is this a resignation or a ladder to grow politically? The party should be cautious of such ‘hard working’ people.”

Nirupam also rejected the idea of a three-member panel. “The idea to appoint a three-member committee to run Mumbai Congress in place of the president is not at all appropriate,” he added. “It will ruin the party further.”