Pune: Senior Congress leader from Pune, Ulhas Pawar, has written a letter to party chief Rahul Gandhi saying the condition of the party’s Pune and Maharashtra units has become “critical” and there was “no coordination” among the leaders.
In the letter, Pawar, a former MLC, expressed his desire to contest the Lok Sabha seat from Pune, and said there were reports that the state Congress leadership was “conspiring” to import an outsider to contest the election. Stating that he has been working for the party with complete loyalty for the last so many years, Pawar added that it was painful to that since the last four to five elections, experiments to bring candidates from outside were being done.
“Due to such experiments, the city Congress has become weak and emaciated and I would request you to give me an opportunity so that I could restore the past grandeur of the party in the city,” he said. He said he was fortunate that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi knew him by name and that he had received her blessings. “I would like to tell you that today the condition of Pune as well as Maharashtra State Congress is very critical. There is no coordination among the few leaders and an atmosphere is being created that the party is united, however, it is just an eyewash,” Pawar said in the letter.
Talking to PTI, Pawar said he is going to meet Gandhi soon to apprise him about the situation of Congress as he could not mention everything in the letter. He said that he wrote a similar letter to Maharashtra in charge- Mallikarjun Kharge. “The way Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are working at the national level and galvanising mass support across the nation, it is painful to see the condition of Pune and state Congress as no efforts are being taken to bring back the old glory of Congress by rallying behind the Gandhis,” he said.
He also accused the state leadership of not clarifying the names of the probable candidates for Pune Lok Sabha seat. When contacted Ramesh Bagwe, the city unit president of the party, said he was not aware of any such letter by Pawar being sent to the party high command. “A list of six names of aspiring candidates, including that of Pawar was sent to the state Congress and they short-listed three names and sent them to the party high command and it is the prerogative of the party high command to choose the right candidate,” he said.
He said the three leaders who have been shortlisted are Mohan Joshi, Abhay Chhajed and Arvind Shinde. “It was made clear to everyone by the state leadership that the ticket will be given to a candidate, who has elective merit because the Pune Lok Sabha constituency is important for Congress,” he said.