Cong in damage control mode; leaders assigned areas for outreach | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Cong in damage control mode; leaders assigned areas for outreach

Feb 14, 2024 07:56 AM IST

Congress insiders said that the exercise is not only aimed at understanding who might leave the party but also at conveying to leaders and office-bearers that the Congress has not weakened to the extent it is being projected and together, they can turn the tide around

Mumbai: Following the exit of Ashok Chavan, a shocked Congress is in damage control mode, with the party leadership communicating with all leaders including sitting legislators and former representatives to avert an exodus from the party. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and senior leader Balasaheb Thorat have been tasked to speak with leaders from Nanded who are considered close to Chavan to ensure they do not follow in his footsteps.

Mumbai, India – Feb 13, 2024: Maharashtra Congress in-charge Ramesh Chennithala with Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole, Congress Leader Balasaheb Thorat, and senior leaders addressing the media, at Gandhi Bhavan, Colaba, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India – Feb 13, 2024: Maharashtra Congress in-charge Ramesh Chennithala with Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole, Congress Leader Balasaheb Thorat, and senior leaders addressing the media, at Gandhi Bhavan, Colaba, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

Congress insiders said that the exercise is not only aimed at understanding who might leave the party but also at conveying to leaders and office-bearers that the Congress has not weakened to the extent it is being projected and together, they can turn the tide around.

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On Tuesday, the Congress’ Maharashtra in-charge Ramesh Chennithala flew down to Mumbai and held a meeting with senior leaders at Gandhi Bhavan in Colaba, where a strategy to reach out to leaders and keep the party united was discussed in detail. Besides Patole and Thorat, senior leaders like Prithviraj Chavan, Vijay Wadettiwar, Manikrao Thakre, Varsha Gaikwad, Satej Patil, Vishwajeet Kadam and Amin Patel were entrusted with the responsibility of speak to various leaders, said highly placed sources in the Congress.

“Each leader has been given specific areas and asked to communicate with MLAs and other leaders,” said a senior Congress functionary.

The party has also convened a meeting of all its MLAs on February 15, for which they have been asked to reach Mumbai on February 14. “All the MLAs have been asked to attend the Congress Legislature Party meeting on February 15, for which a whip is going to be issued,” said Patole.

The MLAs will be taken to Lonavala near Pune following the meeting to attend a two-day camp. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will address the opening session of the camp starting on February 16, said a senior leader.

Meanwhile, the party leadership mounted a veiled attack on the Marathwada strongman for leaving the Congress despite occupying prime positions all these years. “The Congress has given several important posts to Ashok Chavan such as the chief minister, the state Congress chief and many ministerial posts, but still he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party all of a sudden. He is a coward – he left the battlefield and joined hands with the opposition to weaken the Congress,” said Chennithala.

The Maharashtra in-charge wondered if Chavan had left the party because he was scared of central investigation agencies. “Did he get scared of the ED and CBI and leave the party? He should answer these questions. His resignation will not weaken the Congress because it follows an ideology and people will not accept betrayal,” Chennithala insisted.

The Congress’ state leadership is of the opinion that only three MLAs from Nanded who are close to Chavan may leave the party as it will cost them disqualification for six years. “This is an open election so there is no chance of cross-voting. Those who will try to do it will be disqualified and they will not be able to contest election for next six years. I don’t think anyone will dare to do so,” said Patole.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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