Mumbai: Finally wait is over. Almost 17 months after the former MP Milind Deora resigned following party's rout in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress high command on Saturday appointed a trade union leader and legislator Prakash alias Bhai Jagtap (66) as new president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC).
After Deora's resignation, former MP and veteran leader Eknath Gaikwad (80)was appointed MRCC's executive president and the chorus was rising within the party for a full time President to rebuild the party organization ahead of elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slated for 2022.
Jagtap is a two term Maharashtra Legislative Council and a one term Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. He currently serves as the vice president of the Maharashtra Congress. All India Congress Committee general secretary (organization) KC Venugopal had released letter on Jagtap's appointment.
Jagtap outsmarted other frontrunners including Deora, Minister of School Education Varsha Gaikwad, former minister Suresh Shetty, former MHADA chief Amarjeet Manhas and former legislator Charan Singh Sapra. Jagtap, a Mumbaikar and Marathi manoos, faces a huge challenge to revive the party which is divided over going solo or fighting BMC elections with other Maha Vikas Aghadi partners Shiv Sena and NCP.
The party high command has also declared MRCC's new executive. Sapra has been appointed as executive president, former minister Naseem Khan as campaign committee chief and Shetty as the manifesto committee chief. Jagtap with his team comprising experienced and veteran leaders is mandated to improve Congress party's rally in the coming BMC elections and also regain its lost vote bank in Mumbai.
The other executive committee members included former MP Priya Dutt, MLA Amin Patel, Upendra Doshi and Janet D'souza.
The party had conducted an opinion poll to assess the views of Congress members for the appointment of a new city unit president. Party in charge of Maharashtra HK Patil had held telephonic opinion poll with 550 office bearers before Jagtap's name was finalized.
Jagtap will have to reach out to various factions in the party in a bid to put up a united face to fight civic body elections.
Jagtap started his political career as a trade union leader. He heads Bharatiya Kamgar Karmachari Mahasangh.