Just when all the political parties are busy chalking out their plans for 2019 elections, Congress’ Nagpur unit is spectating yet another outbreak of fisticuffs between its two senior leaders. Nagpur Congress Chief Vikas Thakre has submitted his report to Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on the enquiry he held against senior Congress leader and former minister in Congress-NCP Government in Maharashtra Dr Satish Chaturvedi for allegedly carrying out “anti-party” activities and promoting factionalism during the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) elections, which were held in February 2017.
When Nation Next asked Thakre about his enquiry report, he confirmed that he had sent a report to MPCC. “I can’t divulge much about the report. All I can say is that I’ve updated my seniors about the whole issue and now they will take a final call in the best interest of the party,” said Thakre.
For the uninitiated, Thakre had served Chaturvedi a show cause notice on Sunday (January 28, 2018) for allegedly promoting “groupism” and carrying out “anti-party activities” during the NMC elections in 2017. As per our sources within the party, after Chaturvedi didn’t respond to the show cause notice sent to him by Thakre, the latter held a swift inquiry, in which he sought details from the other city leaders of the party about the said allegations levelled against Chaturvedi.
When Nation Next sought Chaturvedi’s response on having been served a show cause notice by Thakre, Chaturvedi lashed out at the Congress city chief, saying that Thakre had lost his mental balance.
Nagpur Congress’ elections stand nullified, said Chaturvedi, questioning Thakre’s authority of serving him a show cause notice. “Just leave him! Vikas Thakre is no more the city president of Congress party. He has no right to send me a show cause notice. It’s the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) head Rahul Gandhi’s prerogative to question me. I’m answerable only to him. Thakre is behaving like mad just to gain publicity. He has no power to hold any enquiry against me,” said Chaturvedi.
Coming down heavily upon Thakre, Chaturvedi said, “Thakre claims that he’s acted as per MPCC chief Ashok Chavan’s directions. Ask him to show us Chavan’s letter, which mentions that I should be served with a show cause notice. This is a fraudulent move. How can a petty man like Vikas Thakre give me a show cause notice? If Ashok Chavan has given Thakre “so-called written directions,” where are those? I want him to show the letter to us. It’s Thakre’s frustrated and desperate and that’s why he’s doing all this. Also, because we stopped him from assigning delegates during the NMC elections last year, he lost his mental balance. First, he should take an action against 17 corporators, against whom he had served a show cause notice earlier.”
When asked about the allegations against him of promoting “groupism” and supporting rival parties in NMC elections last year, Chaturvedi said, “Just because Thakre is saying something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Responding to Chaturvedi’s scathing attack, Thakre quipped, “Yes, I’m mad! Bearing with this nonsense. But not any more… Satish Chaturvedi had submitted a list of the people (to MPCC), to whom he wanted to field in for NMC elections in 2017. Just because they didn’t get tickets, Chaturvedi made those people contest the elections independently. He also campaigned for them. So, Congress’ candidates in NMC elections filed complaints against him. It was everywhere in the news. Then, All India Congress Committee (AICC) directed the MPCC, which, in turn, instructed the District Congress Committee Chief (myself) to take an action on the issue. Chaturvedi himself seems to have lost his mental balance.”
Thakre sarcastically said that he didn’t need to explain his position to Chaturvedi in this case. “In fact, Chaturvedi doesn’t have such a positioning in the party to question me. He’s just a former minister and former MLA. He is nobody today and I am the president of the city unit. It doesn’t make sense if he keeps telling the people about how big a man he is! However, we’d given him a timeframe of seven days to reply to the show cause notice. After he failed to do so, I updated my senior colleagues in MPCC about the same. Now, the party will decide the future course of action to be taken against him. He’ll then understand everything.”
As factionalism in Nagpur Congress has cost the party dearly in many elections over the years, these in fights have been a cause of concern for the senior leaders of the party. In a recent interview to Nation Next, former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan categorically stated his exasperation on the in fights, saying that the party should take stern action against the erring local leaders.