Mumbai: A day after his appointment as Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president, Bhai Jagtap has begun singing ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ for the ensuing elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), by wanting his party to contest all 227 seats. ‘‘As captain, I am of the view that Congress should contest all 227 seats on its own in the forthcoming BMC elections,’’ he noted.
Jagtap, who is also a trade unionist, reminded that there was a time when Congress had 75 corporators in BMC. ‘‘But in the last 10 years, this number has come down to 30 to 35. I will fight with full strength to improve the party's tally in the civic body polls,’’ said Jagtap, after performing the customary puja at Khanderaya temple in Jejuri.
However, he said it would be important to consider the strategy of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and Congress in the municipal elections, especially when they were the ruling partners of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state.
Jagtap said that he would carry out to the best of his abilities the responsibilities entrusted to him by the party and would fight the civic elections with party leaders including Milind Deora, Priya Dutt, Eknath Gaikwad and Sanjay Nirupam.
Jagtap said his priority would be to rejuvenate the Congress party and regain past glory. The Congress had won 30 seats in the 2017 elections but has not bagged a single Lok Sabha seat in Greater Mumbai. It had won only four of the 36 assembly seats in 2019 elections.
Jagtap said ‘‘Actor Sushant Singh's death will not be an issue in the upcoming municipal elections.’’ He slammed the BJP for politicising the issue of the metro carshed.
Jagtap’s going solo statement comes days after leaders from three parties continued to reiterate that they proposed to fight the BMC elections together in a serious bid to defeat the BJP, which has already launched Mission Mumbai 2022 with a resolve to get its party nominee elected mayor of Mumbai.
On the other hand, Congress leaders like Sanjay Nirupam and Ravi Raja, among others, have been making a strong case for the party going it alone in the BMC elections. Raja had said the Congress would not get a fair deal from Shiv Sena.
Jagtap’s statement comes two days after Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, reminded him of the implementation of the common minimum programme in letter and spirit, especially for the marginalised and disadvantaged sections of the society. It has also exposed rifts among a section of Congress leaders in the state.