Mumbai Congress feud deepens as Urmila Matondkar critisises leadership

Mumbai | The infighting in the Mumbai Congress has taken a new turn with a letter of actress and party member Urmila Matondkar, making scathing comments against trusted aides of her senior colleague Sanjay Nirupam, surfacing Monday.

Matondkar, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North constituency, wrote the letter to the party leadership criticising the conduct of Sandesh Kondvilkarand Bhushan Patil, close associates of Nirupam, a former Mumbai Congress president.

The letter is dated May 16, a week before the Lok Sabha election results were announced, and addressed to Milind Deora, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) chief who announced his resignation from the post on Sunday.

In the missive, she highlighted the failure of party leadership at local level on coordination, mobilising workers at grassroots, failure to provide proper resources to her by the two campaign coordinators.

The actress-politician accused the duo of showing a “total lack of coordination, honesty and efficiency, ensuring a disastrous outcome”.

Matondkar said the joint poll rally addressed by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in suburban Borivali in April was organised in an “extremely shoddy” manner, bringing huge personal embarrassment for her.

In the letter, the 45-year-old Congress politician accused Kondvilkar of calling up her family members and asking them for money to fund her election campaign.

Kondvilkar also asked Matondkar’s family members to speak to Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel for release of campaign funds, she claimed.

Matondkar also accused the duo of showing disrespect to North Mumbai district Congress president Ashok Sutrale.

She sought disciplinary action against Kondvilkar and Patil, and demanded changes at the organisational level to ensure better and brighter future for the party.

Matondkar said despite the hurdles, she managed to run a decent campaign and added she had highlighted certain issues with an intention to bring positive change in the party.

Nirupam hit out at Deora after the letter became public.

He tweeted, “young leader who desires to stabilise party at national level has released copies of complaint letter of an LS candidate to media houses to publish it.

“It was addressed to him against party workers after election. Is this the way he is going to adopt to stabilise the party.”

Meanwhile, Deora, in a statement, said, “A party and it’s ideals are bigger than one individual. Some unpleasant and unwarranted commentary from certain quarters should be ignored and not countered. The Congress party has seen many upheavals and shall overcome this one too.”

Both Deora and Nirupam had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from South Mumbai and Mumbai North West, respectively, this year.

In a related development, ZakirAhmed, Mumbai Congress vice-president, slammed Nirupam.

In a statement, Ahmed said, “Nirupam is the most unpopular leader in the Mumbai Congress due to his loud mouth attitude.

“The election results are a proof of this. In Mumbai, the defeat margins of all candidates has reduced except Nirupam in Mumbai North West.

“In 2014, the Congress defeat margin in Mumbai North West was 1.75 lakh and now Nirupam was defeated by 2.75l akh votes (in 2019).”

On Sunday, Nirupam had said Deora, post his resignation as the Mumbai Congress president, was hankering for a national-level position in the party.

Deora, a former Union minister, had replaced Nirupam as the Mumbai Congress chief ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in April-May.

Nirupam had also criticised Deora’s suggestion to set up a panel comprising three senior Congress leaders to oversee the Mumbai unit till the Maharashtra Assembly polls, saying such a move would “ruin” the party further.

The Assembly polls are due in September-October.

“A resignation is linked to the sentiment of sacrifice. 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 had said in a tweet in Hindi targetting Deora.

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