Congress expelled Sanjay Nirupam for 6 years after targeting Team Thackeray.

Congress expelled Sanjay Nirupam for 6 years after targeting Team Thackeray.

A defiant Mr Nirupam said he would announce his next course of action on Thursday.

Capping a day of fast-moving developments, the Congress expelled Sanjay Nirupam, a senior Maharashtra leader, for six years for his “anti-party statements”. Earlier on Wednesday, the party had removed him from the list of star campaigners for the Lok Sabha polls and sources said the state unit was preparing a proposal to drop him to the central leadership.

The proposal came after Mr. Nirupam made scathing remarks against the Congress's India ally, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and its leader Uddhav Thackeray after it announced candidates for some Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra – including the northwest Mumbai seat, which the Congress leader was reportedly eyeing.

Earlier, he had also commented on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the convener of another party ally, AAP, which was not in line with the official Congress stand.

Announcing Mr. Nirupam's dismissal late on Wednesday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement, “Taking note of the complaints of misbehavior and anti-party statements, the Honorable President of the Congress has suspended Mr. Sanjay Nirupam from the party. sanctioned withdrawal from. six years with immediate effect.”

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole had said, “We have removed him (Mr Nirupam) from the list of star campaigners and have also initiated disciplinary action against him for his statements. ”

After being removed as star campaigner, a defiant Mr Nirupam attacked the Congress and said he would announce his next course of action on Thursday.

Personal attacks

The Shiv Sena (UBT), which is in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra with the Congress and the NCP, announced its list of 16 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls on March 27. The name of Amul Kirtikar's son was also included in the list. Cue a tirade by Mr. Nirupam, for the current MPK – North West Mumbai seat.

“The way Shiv Sena UBT took five Mumbai seats. Looks like a plan to bury Congress in Mumbai. Looks like Shiv Sena wants to force Congress to its knees,” senior Congress leader. , who has been in the Lok Sabha. said the MP from Mumbai North Constituency, Member of Rajya Sabha and President of the party's Mumbai unit.

“I appeal to the Congress leadership to intervene or end the alliance with the Shiv Sena. If the Shiv Sena thinks it can fight alone, it is making a huge mistake,” he added.

Criticizing Uddhav Thackeray for the split in the Shiv Sena by current Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Mr. Nirupam called him “Bachi Kuchi Shiv Sena Paramukh (Head of what is left of the Shiv Sena)”.

He also criticized Mr Kartikar, alleging that he was involved in the 'khichdi scam' – alleged irregularities in the distribution of food to migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. Nirupam's remarks were seen as adding to the difficulties of sharing the seats of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which is part of the Indian alliance at the Centre.

'Decision will be announced tomorrow'

After he was removed from the list of star campaigners, Mr. Nirupam pointed to the freezing of Congress accounts and said it should use its stationery and energy to protect itself.

In a post on X, the leader wrote in Hindi, “Congress party should not waste energy and stationery on me. It should use stationery and energy to save itself as the party is facing severe financial crisis. . The time frame I gave. The party ends today. I will tell my next course of action tomorrow,” he tweeted.

The timeframe was a reference to his earlier comments which gave the Congress a week to decide whether to end its alliance with the Shiv Sena (UBT).

If Mr Nirupam decides to switch sides, he is likely to be spoiled for choice as leaders of both the BJP and Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde faction have said he would be welcome in their parties. .

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