Politics

Maharashtra: Urmila Matondkar, Kripashankar Singh Quit Congress Ahead of Polls

The actor-politician blamed "petty in-house politics", while former minister Singh said he did not agree with the party's stand on Article 370.

Mumbai: Actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar and former Maharashtra minister Kripashankar Singh on Tuesday announced their resignations from the Congress.

Urmila, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election in April from Mumbai, said she was quitting owing to “petty in-house politics” in the party. Singh said he was leaving the Congress as he did not agree with party’s stand to oppose the reading down of Article 370.

The resignations come as another setback to the Congress, which has already seen the exit of many functionaries ahead of the next month’s Maharashtra assembly elections.

The announcement by Matondkar, who had bagged 2,41,431 votes in the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat, came as a huge embarrassment for the Congress, which is struggling to keep its flock together ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls, slated to be held next month.

Matondkar, who joined the Congress in March this year, was defeated by BJP stalwart Gopal Shetty in the polls.

In a statement, Matondkar observed that the key functionaries of the Mumbai Congress are either unable to or are not committed to transforming the party.

“I have resigned from the Indian National Congress. My political and social sensibilities refuse to allow vested interests in the party to use me as a mean to fight petty in-house politics instead of working on a bigger goal in Mumbai Congress,” she said.

Matondkar said the first thought of resignation came to her mind when she realised that “no action” was being taken despite her “repeated efforts” on her letter dated May 16 addressed to the then Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora.

Also Read: Congress-NCP Mass Defections in Maharashtra Signal a Deep Rot in Leadership

In her letter, Matondkar had criticised the conduct of Sandesh Kondvilkar and Bhushan Patil, close associates of Sanjay Nirupam, a former Mumbai Congress president.

“Thereafter, to my utter dismay, the letter containing privileged and confidential communication was conveniently leaked to the media, which according to me was an act of a blatant betrayal.

“Needless to say, no one from the party was apologetic or even concerned towards me for the same despite my repeated protests,” she said.

Matondkar claimed some of the persons named in her letter for the “shoddy performance” of the Congress in the Mumbai North contest were “rewarded with newer positions” instead of fixing responsibilities.

“It is obvious that the key functionaries of the Mumbai Congress are either unable or not committed to bringing about a change and transformation in the organisation for the betterment of the party,” she said.

Matondkar’s statement is mum on her next political move.

However, she added that she stood by her “thoughts and ideologies” and will continue to work for the people “with honesty and dignity”.

Singh opposed to party’s stand on Article 370

Singh, a former Mumbai Congress president, told PTI that he will reveal his political stand at an “appropriate time” and added that he is not joining the BJP. “I quit the Congress because I do not agree with the party stand to oppose reading down of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Former Maharashtra Congress minister Kripashankar Singh. Photo: Screegrab

Singh served as Mumbai Congress chief and was also a minister in the Congress-NCP coalition government for 15 years.

A Mumbai court last year discharged Singh in a disproportionate asset case for want of sanction to prosecute him. He had come under ED and CBI scanner in the case.

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