Dissent is growing in the Maharashtra Congress against the fielding of an ‘’outsider’’ Imran Pratapgarhi for the Rajya Sabha election. The state party general secretary Ashish Deshmukh on Tuesday resigned to protest against the imposition of Pratapgarhi. He questioned the high command’s decision saying why UP leaders were picked up neglecting leaders from Maharashtra.
In Uttar Pradesh where Congress had won just two seats, three leaders from that state have been fielded in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. "Are there not able leaders from Maharashtra for nomination in the RS poll?’’ asked Deshmukh.
In a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he said, “Due to the imposition of Imran Pratapgadi from Uttar Pradesh in Maharashtra for Rajya Sabha I am resigning from the post of general secretary of MPCC." He added, "Imposition of an outsider candidate will not benefit the party in terms of growth. This is injustice to general Congress workers in Maharashtra." However, Deshmukh has indicated that he will continue to work as an ordinary party worker.
Meanwhile, former union minister Milind Deora, who was denied nomination, put out a cryptic tweet following the snub.
Deora put out a picture of light signage with the writing: You matter don't give up. But if one reads it horizontally, it says: You don't matter, give up.
Although Deshmukh and Deora have publicly expressed their displeasure, several other party leaders have been voicing their unhappiness in private. As reported by the Free Press Journal, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the general secretary of the Mahila Congress and vice president of Mumbai unit Nagma Morarji had expressed their disappointment.
However, state Congress chief Nana Patole downplayed the unrest within the party. “There is no unrest within the organisation. The decision on the Rajya Sabha candidate is finalised by the central party leaders. Everybody has accepted it. There is no question of contesting the central leadership’s decision by the state leaders." He further said Congress is a major player in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.