Mumbai: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today exhorted local party workers to put up a united face to take on the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the next year’s elections to the municipal corporation here.
Terming Congress as a “very complicated party”, Rahul asked party workers to draw inspiration from the leadership of late stalwart Murli Deora, and take everybody along, but also warned against any act of indiscipline.
Unitedly fight the Mumbai’s civic election next year. A win in Sena-BJP-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), India’s largest civic body which boasts of an annual budget in excess of Rs 30,000 crore, will be a real tribute to Deora, who passed away in 2014, he said while addressing party workers at the Mumbai Congress office.
The 45-year-old Amethi MP, however, did not make any reference to alleged factionalism within the Mumbai Congress.
Rahul said the country’s oldest political party, which was founded in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1885, derives a lot of idealogical strength from Maharashtra.
“This (Maharashtra) has deeply imbibed Congress ideologies. When I think about whole of India, I find Congress has most deep-rooted ideological presence in this state. Even Gandhiji spoke about it. He had said Maharashtra takes lead in promoting brotherhood and inclusiveness,” he said.
Earlier, Rahul inaugurated the Murlibhai Deora Hall, built inside the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee office. He paid rich tributes to Deora and hailed him as a humble and successful Congress leader.
“When you want to move fast then go alone, but when you want to move longer, then take everyone along with you. This noble thought I learnt from Murlibhai who we all miss now,” he said.
Deora successfully led the Mumbai Congress for over 22 years, and this is no mean feat, Rahul said.
“I am in active in politics since 2004 and I have come across several Presidents of the party units. I have closely noticed functioning of the party and observed how the party is run and from where opposition comes from (in local units) because Congress is a very complicated party,” Rahul said.
“In these circumstances, he (Deora) successfully headed Mumbai Congress for 22 years. This shows there must have been something in him,” said the party Vice-President, who is in Mumbai tour for two days.
Rahul’s visit comes at a time when MRCC, now headed by Sanjay Nirupam, is embroiled in a row over two articles in a party journal criticising former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and making uncharitable comments about Sonia Gandhi’s father.
Deora’s son Milind, a former Congress MP from Mumbai South, was also present on the occasion.
“I am very grateful to Rahul Gandhiji for coming to Mumbai to inaugurate a hall named after my father, who nurtured Mumbai Congress for over two decades,” said Milind, a former Union Minister.