Monday, March 4, 2024

Milind Deora’s resignation from Congress long in the making; Mumbai South seat in question

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi set out on his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra on Sunday from Imphal, Manipur, while Senior Congress leader Milind Deora announced his resignation from the grand old party to join Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. 

Hours after he ended his 56-year-old association with the Congress party by joining the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, Milind Deora blamed Congress’ deviation from its “ideological and organisational roots, lacking appreciation for honesty and constructive criticism”. 

However, reports have suggested that the exit from Congress for Milind Deora was long in the making and not a sudden decision. 

Congress’ communication chief Jairam Ramesh had told Indian Express that Milind Deora remained skeptical about the South Bombay Lok Sabha seat.

Notably, the Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) faction are now opposition INDIA bloc allies, which meant that the South Bombay seat was likely to be allotted to Shiv Sena (UBT) during seat-sharing talks. 

Mumbai South Lok Sabha seat

Milind Deora had contested the last four elections from Mumbai South Lok Sabha seat, and represented the constituency from 2004 to 2014.

Milind Deora lost Mumbai South to the Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant in 2014 and 2019, abruptly quitting as the Mumbai Congress president in the middle of the Lok Sabha campaign five years ago to focus on his efforts to win back the constituency.

However, Arvind Sawant, the MP from Mumbai South stayed with Uddhav Thackeray even as Eknath Shinde led a clout to rebel, thereby dividing Shiv Sena. 

Reports reveal that former CM Uddhav Thackeray is said to have pushed for the Mumbai South constituency to remain with Shiv Sena .

In a recently released video Deora was seen advising his supporters and workers to remain calm and asked Sena not to stake a claim on any Lok Sabha constituency unless it is finalised in the seat-sharing talks.

Milind Deoara unhappy with INDIA bloc seat-sharing?

Jairam Ramesh had told Indian Express that Milind Deora wanted him to intervene and put in a word with Rahul Gandhi. 

“He spoke to me on Friday. He wanted me to explain to Rahul Gandhi that his seat was going. He said he is concerned. He messaged me at 2.48 pm. I spoke to him at 3.40 pm. I told him to meet Rahul(Gandhi) and explain,” Indian Express quoted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

How Mumbai South votes?

Mumbai South has a significant Muslim population along with a Marathi electorate and is cosmopolitan. In the last two polls, the Mumbai South constituency has voted for an undivided Shiv Sena. 

Why Milind Deora joined Shiv Sena?

The fact that Mumbai South has voted for the undivided Shiv Sena in the past two elections might have influenced Milind Deora’s decision to join Shiv Sena and not Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). However, it still remains unclear if Deora will be granted the Mumbai South constituency by Shiv Sena.

The BJP has not yet given up its claim on Mumbai South and names such as currently Speaker Rahul Narwekar and minister Mangalprabhat Lodha have been floated during talks.

Mumbai South and Deoras

Murli Deora in 1977 was elected mayor of Bombay with the support of Shiv Sena. He first contested the Lok Sabha polls from Bombay South constituency in 1980 but lost to the Janata Party’s Ratansingh Rajda though, in the subsequent election, Deora defeated BJP’s Jayawantiben Mehta by a huge margin. He was re-elected in 1989, 1991 but lost to Mehta in 1996 and 1999.

Murli Deora’s son, Milind, defeated Jayawantiben Mehta to go to the Lok Sabha from the same constituency in 2004. In 2009, Milind Deora won the Mumbai South seat again.

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Published: 15 Jan 2024, 01:21 PM IST

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