Congress To Expel Sanjay Nirupam? Plan In The Works After He Targeted Ally

Sanjay Nirupam is a former MP and has also served as Mumbai Congress chief


The Maharashtra unit of the Congress is prepping a proposal to expel party leader Sanjay Nirupam for his recent remarks against INDIA ally, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), over seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha election. The proposal would be sent across to the Congress high command in Delhi and the party’s disciplinary committee will take the final call.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the state Congress committee, which has also decided to push for the removal of Mr Nirupam from the party’s list of star campaigners in the run-up to the polls. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said, “We have taken him off as a star campaigner and have also initiated disciplinary action against him over the statements he made.”

A former MP of both the House of Parliament, Mr Nirupam has been hitting out at the Uddhav Thackeray-led party ever since it named its candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

Why Is Sanjay Nirupam Upset

The bone of contention is the Mumbai North-West seat – Mr Nirupam wants to contest the seat, but the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has announced Amol Kirtikar as its candidate. The seat is currently held by Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar, who defeated Mr Nirupam in the 2019 election. Gajanan Kirtikar sided with Eknath Shinde after the Shiv Sena split. In a sharp move, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party fielded his son Amol from the seat. Gajanan Kirtikar has now said that he would not contest against his son. The BJP, it is learnt, wants to field its candidate there as part of its seat-sharing understanding with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.

Verbal Attacks On Ally

Mr Nirupam has said the Congress leadership should not allow itself to be arm-twisted by Uddhav Thackeray’s party. Soon after the Sena list was out, he told news agency PTI, “The Congress should not come under the threat of Shiv Sena (UBT) as the Uddhav Thackeray-led party is not capable of winning any seat without Congress support. Shiv Sena (UBT) arm-twisted the Congress to take five of the six seats in Mumbai. But the Congress should not allow itself to be arm-twisted like this. This action is against the Congress and it’s a ploy to finish off the party in the city,” he said.

Mr Nirupam also alleged that Sena’s candidate Amol Kirtikar took bribes during a free food initiative for migrant labourers during Covid, also known as Khichdi Scam.

In a personal attack on Uddhav Thackeray, he said he was the “bachi khuchi Shiv Sena pramukh”, taking a swipe at the split in his party after the Eknath Shinde-led mutiny.

Is Sanjay Nirupam Switching Parties

Mr Nirupam has dropped broad hints over his next step. Last week, the former Mumbai Congress chief said he is waiting for the high command to take a decision over the issues he has raised and added that “all options are open for me”.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule has said that people like Mr Nirupam are “always welcome” in the party if he is ready and his thoughts align with the BJP. “Seeing the political tenure of Sanjay Nirupam, he has done a lot of work for connecting people with Congress. He is well-recognised in North India. Talks with Sanjay Nirupam have not happened yet, but if he is ready and his thoughts align with the BJP, then people like him are always welcome,” he said.

The BJP is not alone. The Eknath Shinde-led Sena has also sent out feelers. Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat has said Mr Nirupam will definitely be welcomed if he decides to leave Congress in the near future.

“Sanjay Nirupam is very angry with Congress. If he wants to join us, we welcome him. However, the final decision in this regard lies with Eknath Shinde,” Mr Shirsat told ANI.


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