Eknath Gaikwad
Eknath Gaikwad

Mumbai: The Congress party in Mumbai is expecting to soon get a new full-time president. Former minister Suresh Shetty, legislator Bhai Jagtap and former legislators Madhu Chavan and Charanjit Singh Sapra are the frontrunners for the post.

At present, there is no full-time president after former minister Milind Deora, who lost the Lok Sabha election, resigned as the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president in September 2019. Thereafter, the Congress leadership could not appoint Deora’s successor because of internal bickering and factionalism. As a compromise among various factions, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi appointed former MP and a Dalit leader Eknath Gaikwad as the executive president who is currently looking after the party organisation and its functioning.

However, chorus is increasing among the leaders and rank and file for the appointment of a full-time president especially when the elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation is slated for 2022. They insist that a full-time president will get at least 15 months to strengthen the party organisation by increasing presence in 227 wards in the city and thereby improve tally from the present 30 seats.

Jagtap is a firebrand labour union leader and is a member of the state legislative council. He is currently vice president of the Mumbai unit. He had criticised the former president Sanjay Nirupam for pursuing his own agenda and dividing the party.

Chavan has been traditionally from Murali Deora camp and a loyalist. Although he has lost the assembly election, he has been visible at the grassroots.

Former minister Suresh Shetty, who has been a close confidante of former union minister Sunil Dutt, lost the 2014 election and later did not contest the 2019 assembly election. He enjoys a good rapport with the Gandhi-Nehru family.

Charan Singh Sapra is a former member of the state council. After the Punjab Maharashtra Cooperative Bank scam, Sapra has been participating in agitations seeking justice for the depositors.

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