Explained: Why Did Milind Deora Quit Congress Party? Mumbai South, Shiv Sena's Clout And Much More

Explained: Why Did Milind Deora Quit Congress Party? Mumbai South, Shiv Sena's Clout And Much More

Born to veteran Congress leader Murli Deora, Milind Deora achieved the distinction of being one of the youngest members of the Lok Sabha, assuming office as a Member of Parliament at the age of 27.

Tejas JoshiUpdated: Sunday, January 14, 2024, 12:46 PM IST
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Senior Congress leader and former MP Milind Deora on Sunday morning declared his resignation from the party. He is set to align himself with the Shiv Sena, led by Eknath Shinde, at 2 pm, accompanied by his supporters and a handful of corporators, at the Maharashtra chief minister's residence.

While announcing his decision to quit Congress, Deora wrote on X, “Today marks the conclusion of a significant chapter in my political journey. I have tendered my resignation from the primary membership of @INCIndia, ending my family’s 55-year relationship with the party. I am grateful to all leaders, colleagues & karyakartas for their unwavering support over the years."

Milind Deora's political journey

Born to veteran Congress leader Murli Deora, Milind Deora achieved the distinction of being one of the youngest members of the Lok Sabha, assuming office as a Member of Parliament at the age of 27. He secured victory in the 2004 elections with a margin of 10,000 votes, defeating BJP's Jaywantiben Mehta. In the subsequent 2009 Lok Sabha election, Deora once again emerged victorious from the Mumbai South Constituency, this time with a substantial margin of 1,12,682 votes. In 2011, he was appointed as the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology in the Union Government of India.

He, however, had to suffer major setbacks in 2014 and 2019. He lost the two successive Lok Sabha elections to Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant. Shiv Sena was then contesting the polls in alliance with the BJP and was not split into two factions.

Why has Deora quit Congress now?

After the 2019 political upheaval in Maharashtra, the Congress ended up in an alliance with Shiv Sena and NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi. Deora has been running upset since then as he had fought with the Shiv Sena all his political career in Mumbai city and now had to make peace with the fact that they were the party's new friends.

Moreover, as the Lok Sabha elections for 2024 came closer, Deora grew restless about his Mumbai South parliamentary constituency, since Arvind Sawant, who had defeated him on the last two occasions, was now a member of an alliance partner. It was abundantly clear to Deora that only one of them would be able to contest the polls from the Mumbai South seat.

In a recently published video, Deora urged his supporters and associates to maintain composure, advising the Shiv Sena not to assert its claim on any Lok Sabha constituency until it was officially settled during the seat-sharing discussions. Deora, appointed as the joint-treasurer of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) not long ago, highlighted that his family, including his late father Murli Deora, had dedicated over 40 years of service to the constituency.

He expressed discontent, specifically with the initiation of the election campaign in Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency by Uddhav Thackeray's Sena and Aaditya Thackeray. Additionally, they asserted that Sawant would be the candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Deora, in his video, had said that an MVA alliance partner is “making a one-sided claim over the Lok Sabha seat”. “I don’t want to create any controversy or get into a debate but the spokesperson of one of the parties, which is part of the MVA, asked us (Congress) to start from zero. Then, on Friday evening, the same party held a rally at South Mumbai’s Girgaon and claimed that seat. Certainly, you (supporters and party workers) were disappointed due to their claim. This seat is the traditional seat of the Congress, and for the last 50 years, the Deora family has contested this seat. Even though I am not an MP, Deora family is always there for the South Mumbai residents.”

Speculations had always existed

Though Deora might want people to believe that his decision to quit the Congress was triggered by Shiv Sena (UBT)'s insistence to contest his traditional seat, the political corridors of Maharashtra have always been abuzz last few years with speculations regarding Deora switching sides. With leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, RPN Singh quitting the Congress, many political pundits suggested that Deora might soon jump the ships. His choice of party to switch to may have surprised a few, but his decision to leave Congress has come on expected lines.

Resignation to take away focus from Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra: Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh, the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), mentioned that Deora contacted him on Friday.

“He wanted me to explain to Rahul Gandhi that his seat was going. He said he was concerned. He messaged me at 2.48 PM. I spoke to him at 3.40 PM. I told him to meet Rahul and explain,” Ramesh told The Indian Express.

With Deora's resignation, Ramesh suspects that the BJP orchestrated his departure to divert attention from Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, scheduled to commence on Sunday.

“This whole thing was a farce he enacted. The timing was planned by Modi to dampen the headlines on the yatra. We did not feel his presence. We will not feel his loss either… unlike his father,” Ramesh told The Indian Express.

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