Seems unlikely under the circumstances, Sanjay Nirupam is being seen as a force that is widening the gap between North Indian Mumbaikars and Local Marathi population. Nirupam has always been different to the Congress culture and has been known for his arrogance and self-centered leadership. Nirupam is more seen as a North Indian leader in Mumbai rather than a Mumbai leader. Party loyalist and senior leader Gurudas Kamat was first loss of Congress post-Nirupam’s appointment as Mumbai Regional head. Kamat was so cut up with the appointment of Nirupam that he resigned from a party that he served for over three decades and so much was his frustration that he retired from active Politics. As usual, the Congress high command seems oblivious to the ground reality. Apart from other things, Kamat blamed Sanjay Nirupam for the defection of Congress leader Krishna Hegde to BJP, he said: “It was sad to see 2nd generation Congressman forced to leave the INC due to Nirupam and Mohan Prakash’s behavior.” Nirupam thus does not look like he is someone who can lead Congress to any sort of victory in Mumbai. In fact, Mumbaikars except North immigrant may repel from Congress under his belligerent and militant leadership.
Ashok Chavan, on the other hand, seems to be the reluctant MPCC head. His interests lie in Delhi; it seems he’s taking his MPCC presidentship as a bane than a boon. His constant bickering with Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, and even Sanjay Nirupam has created more political activity within the party than without. His ‘I don’t care attitude’ and Nanded centric policies are not only harming Maha- Congress but also demoralizing local party workers. He has never promoted and encouraged new talent in Maharashtra but has been constantly encircled with sycophants and lackeys. He seems to be a man who does not want to helm the State unit and is purely doing so under the high command pressure. He seems to be a man with more enemies than friends in the state unit. MPCC under his leadership will never ever function like an effective potent combat unit. MPCC is not election ready.
Sharad Pawar at the age of 77 seems to be driving the anti-BJP movement. He is travelling to every nook and corner of Maharashtra and garnering a fairly decent response from the people. Pawar is usurping all the mileage from the Maratha Morcha where Mr. Chavan seems to be twiddling this thumb. As things stand today the falling popularity of BJP is definitely helping Pawar and NCP more than Congress or even the Sena.
If Congress harbors the ambition of returning to power in Maharashtra it will then need to re-gig its State team. They need to change people like Sanjay Nirupam and rejuvenate people like Ashok Chavan. Win over people like Gurudas Kamath back into their fold at all costs. State leaders like Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Milind Deora should play more active role for the Congress in Maharashtra. Celebs from popular culture, key opinion leaders and known Congress supporters like Mahesh Bhatt and others should be encouraged to speak for the Party.
Last but not the least, young energetic blood like Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant, city vice president and minority face Al- Naseer Zakaria are some of the talents that are languishing under the autocratic, sycophant state leadership. It will definitely be in the interest of Congress party to recognize and reward them by using their talents and offering them key roles and responsibilities, else someone will.