Amid widening rift among the party leaders and also with ruling allies NCP and Shiv Sena, the Congress in a change of Maharashtra HK Patil on Monday held a meeting with key party leaders to take stock of the situation.
Patil also reviewed the Congress party’s performance in the recently held elections to the Nagar Panchayats and Zilla Parishads and asked the party leaders to step up efforts for the party’s consolidation in the state ahead of the upcoming civic and local body elections.
The state Congress president Nana Patole confirmed Patil’s meeting with senior leaders and in charge of the party's various fronts and cells. Today’s meeting took place when 28 Congress corporators from Malegaon Municipal Corporation had joined NCP.
A senior party functionary told the Free Press Journal, ‘’Today’s meeting is crucial when the rift between Patole and energy minister Nitin Raut was surfaced after latter wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray complaining about the non-payment of arrears by urban and rural development departments held by Shiv Sena and NCP respectively. Besides, Minister of OBC Vijay Wadettiwar had openly expressed his displeasure over being sidelined in the ongoing legal battle for the restoration of 27% political reservation for the OBC community in the local bodies. In general, there was a growing restlessness among the Congress ministers and leaders over party not getting its due in the government functioning.’’
He further said that even though Congress had bagged 316 seats in the recently held Nagar Panchayat elections, the number of seats was reduced compared to the last elections. ‘’Therefore, Patil asked the state leadership to focus on increasing Congress party’s presence ahead of upcoming local and civic body elections in the state,’’ he added.