After Urmila Matondkar, Maharashtra ex-Minister quits Congress


Mumbai, September 10, 2019

In a second consecutive blow to the Mumbai Congress on Tuesday, former minister and senior leader Kripa Shankar Singh announced he had quit the party.
Singh met Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday and tendered his resignation from the Congress.
He is likely to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon, though he is reported to be in touch with the Shiv Sena as well, aides indicated.
Fuelling the speculation to this was the fact that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray had visited Singh's Bandra residence to celebrate Ganeshotsav recently.
Earlier this afternoon, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar sent shock-waves in the Congress by quitting after accusing its Mumbai leadership of "betrayal". However, she has not revealed her future course of political action so far though speculation is rife that she may consider joining another party.
Singh -- once billed as the Congress' benign north-Indian face in Mumbai -- has also expressed his differences with the Congress' official stance opposing the recent striking down of the Constitution's Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among other posts, Singh was the Mumbai Congress President for a term and served as Minister of State for Home and held other portfolios in the former Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition government.
In 2011, Singh and some of his close family members had come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in certain corruption-related cases after which he had to quit his ministerial post in mid-2012.
Meanwhile, several prominent faces from the Congress and NCP are likely to join the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena this week as the countdown for the announcement of Maharashtra assembly elections starts.
Earlier in the day, actress Matondar, caught in a web of intra-party politicking, abruptly quit the Congress, alleging 'betrayal' by the party.
"I hereby resign from the Indian National Congress (INC) as a member and from any post held in the INC. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for INC," said Matondkar in a terse letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi dated September 7.
She said the first thoughts of resigning from the party came when -- despite her repeated efforts -- no action was taken in pursuance of her explosive letter dated May 16 to the former Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora, which was 'leaked' in early July.
"Thereafter, to my utter dismay, the said letter containing privileged and confidential communication was conveniently leaked to the media, which according to me was an act of blatant betrayal," Matondkar said.
She claimed that nobody from the party was apologetic for the leak of the nine-page letter, nor was anybody concerned for her despite her repeated protests over the issue.
In the letter, Matondkar had named certain key persons in the party's local units at the block and ward levels and other infighting which reportedly resulted in her defeat in her maiden electoral contest in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.
On the contrary, she pointed out that the persons she had specifically mentioned in the letter to Deora for their "shoddy performance" in Mumbai Congress were rewarded with newer positions, instead of being held accountable for their acts and omissions.
"It is obvious that the key functioneries of Mumbai Congress are either unable or not committed to bring about a change and transformation in the organisation for the betterment of the party," a peeved Matondkar pointed out.
She said her "political and social sensibilities" refused to allow vested interests in the party to use her as a means "to fight petty in-house politics", instead of working on a bigger goal for the Mumbai Congress.
"I stand by all my thoughts and ideologies and will continue to work for the people to the best of my capacity with honesty and dignity. I thank all the people who helped and supported me through my journey," she signed off.
The popular actress had joined the Congress on March 27 this year and later unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North against sitting Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gopal Shetty, who won by a staggering margin of 4,65,000 votes.
Nevertheless, she led a high-profile election campaign attracting huge crowds in all her public meetings, rallies and door-to-door canvassing with different sections of people in her constituency.

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