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Will Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam be able to deliver Maharashtra for Congress?

Sujit Nair

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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.

 

Editorial

Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony projects the first face of united opposition

Sujit Nair

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While the massive crowd thronged towards the grand swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy, the new Chief Minister of Karnataka, who is it that will be the first face of opposition? Mr. Sujit Nair, Managing Editor of HW News Network shares his insight and take on the matter in this editorial.

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Editorial

Do you agree with what Archbishop Anil Couto said?

Sujit Nair

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While Archbishop Anil has claimed that a “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country posed a threat to India’s constitutional principles and secular fabric, and appealed to followers of his faith for a “prayer campaign”, is it correct for a religious leader to make such appeals to the masses? Is it not for the people to decide whom they want to cast their vote for? Mr. Sujit Nair, Managing Editor of HW News of Network shares his take on the matter in his Editorial here.

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Editorial

…And the winner loses

Sujit Nair

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By making H.D Kumaraswamy the CM of Karnataka Congress must have defeated Modi-Shah, but have they betrayed their Voters?

The scenario:  Karnataka BJP came through as the single largest party with 104 assembly seats with 36.2% vote share. Congress with 78 seats and 38.0% vote share and JD(S)+ with 38 seats and 18.6% vote share. People gave a fractured mandate. BJP celebrated the hope of forming new Government in Karnataka (The first in South India) and Modi-Shah’s clarion call of ‘Congress Mukth Bharat’. Congress and JDS had different plans though; they pulled the rug from under BJP by forming a post-poll alliance and announcing Kumaraswamy as their CM candidate.

Comes in the Governor: As usual, rules were bent, democracy compromised and the Governor refused to meet the post-poll allies, instead, the single largest party was invited to form the government and prove their majority in the floor of the house within 13 days of swearing in. Yeddyurappa took the oath of office. Congress and JDS cried foul and moved the court. Supreme Court ordered BJP government to show majority on the floor of the house within 24 hours. BJP didn’t get enough time to lure defectors. Yeddyurappa resigned… and went on to become the first “One Day” Chief Minister of Karnataka.

A pre-planned strategy: Unlike what’s been popularly perceived, this writer has reasons to believe that JD(S)-Congress alliance was not an instant decision, but a premeditated one. JDS’s smoke and mirrors allowed media to think that Kumaraswamy was flirting with BJP and would even form a post-poll alliance with them. Possibly they even gave BJP that impression. But the truth was otherwise, JD(S) didn’t want to show an affinity towards Congress and spoil their chances with the anti-incumbency that was effecting Congress neither could they tango with BJP and face the wrath of Muslims and Dalit voters. So the strategy was to keep equidistance from both Congress and BJP and right after the polls form an alliance with the Congress. The Gowda’s were certain that together with the Congress they would be in a position to form the government. Anything above 100 seats for Congress would see a Congress CM and JDS deputy CM and anything below 100 would see Kumaraswamy on the throne. Things worked as per plan.

Denouement:  What this ‘Partners of convenience’ didn’t envisage is that BJP and Yeddyurappa got the ‘victims’ benefit and has earned tremendous public sympathy. People of Karnataka, especially the urban voters, the bulk of who voted for the Congress, did not want Kumaraswamy as their CM.  Kumaraswamy is now forced on Karnataka by the Congress and Congress will definitely pay for it. Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy are bitter adversaries; this animosity will affect the alliance and more importantly the government.

Public sympathy coupled with bad governance by unnatural allies will ensure overwhelming public support for BJP and possible anti-Congress votes in 2019 General Elections.

Then was all of this worth the trouble Rahul?

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