Mumbai, Oct 3 (IANS) In a pre-poll jolt for the Congress in Maharashtra, senior party leader Sanjay Nirupam declared on Thursday that he will “not campaign” in the October 21 Assembly elections.
The former Mumbai Congress chief and three-time MP’s decision came after the party rejected his plea for nominating at least one Muslim or minority candidate from each district in the state.
“For Mumbai, I had recommended only one name of a potentially winner Muslim candidate from Versova, but that has been rejected without assigning reasons. This means the party has no need for me. I shall sit at home during elections,” a jilted Nirupam told IANS.
However, former minister and senior Congress leader Naseem Khan has filed his nomination from the Chandivali assembly seat on Thursday after putting up a huge show of strength.
The development came just a day after the party’s former Harya chief Ashok Tanwar staged a protest along with his supporters outside the residence of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, alleging that election tickets were being sold.
Shortly after Nirupam’s announcement, speculation was rife in political circles that he would walk over to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and contest from Borivali assembly seat, but he declined to comment on this.
On September 10, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar had quit the Congress and is currently “unattached” after scoffing rumours of her joining the Shiv Sena.
In early-July, the then Mumbai Congress chief Milind M. Deora had quit his post after which in September, Eknath Gaikwad was named interim President.
Nirupam has been sulking ever since he was removed from the post of Mumbai Congress chief ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The party is trying to pacify him and dissuade him from quitting the party. A senior leader of the party is said to be in touch with him to address his grievances.
Nirupam was earlier with Shiv Sena and had crossed over to the Congress some years back. He contested 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai but lost.