Maharashtra Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam lashed out at party colleague Milind Deora on Tuesday a day after an explosive letter written by actor-politician Urmila Matondkar to Deora came to light. In the letter, dated May 16, Matondkar criticised the conduct of Nirupam’s associates Sandesh Kondvilkar and Bhushan Patil, PTI reported.
“After making a multilingual appeal to the workers not to quarrel agaist each other, the ‘young dynast’ has planted this news to ‘stabilise’ the party,” Nirupam tweeted. “The letter was written to him on May 16 and is leaked to media yesterday. Has he learned all this from his ‘mentor’ Jaitley?” Deora succeeded Nirupam as Mumbai Congress chief.
In the letter, Matondkar, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North on a Congress ticket, accused Kondvilkar and Patil of “total lack of coordination, honesty and efficiency, ensuring a disastrous outcome” in the polls. She added that the party had failed to mobilise workers at the grassroots level, coordinate at the local level, and provide her resources for her campaign.
The Congress politician accused Kondvilkar of calling up her family members to ask for campaign money. She also claimed that Kondvilkar told her family to ask party Treasurer Ahmed Patel for the funds. Matondkar sought disciplinary action against Kondvilkar and Patil, and asked for changes at the organisational level to improve the party’s chances of electoral success in the future.
The rift in the party surfaced on Sunday after Deora stepped down as the president of the Mumbai unit and said he was looking forward to a role in the central leadership. Nirupam responded by accusing him of coveting a national-level role instead of working for the party.
Mumbai Congress Vice President Zakir Ahmed criticised Nirupam. “Nirupam is the most unpopular leader in the Mumbai Congress due to his loud mouth attitude,” PTI quoted Ahmed as saying. “The election results are a proof of this. In Mumbai, the defeat margins of all candidates has reduced except Nirupam in Mumbai North West.”
Deora, in a statement, said a party and its ideals were bigger than an individual. “Some unpleasant and unwarranted commentary from certain quarters should be ignored and not countered,” he added. “The Congress party has seen many upheavals and shall overcome this one too.”