Congress expelled Sanjay Nirupam for 6 years after targeting Team Thackeray

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

Ending a day of rapid development, the Congress has expelled senior Maharashtra leader Sanjay Nirupam for six years for his “anti-party statements”. Earlier on Wednesday, the party dropped him from the list of star campaigners for the Lok Sabha polls and sources said a proposal to oust him was being prepared by the state unit to be sent to the central leadership.

The proposal was made after Mr. Nirupam made comments against the Congress’s India ally, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and its leader Uddhav Thackeray after announcing candidates for several Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra – including the North West Mumbai seat. On which the Congress leader had his eye.

Earlier, he had also commented on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the convenor of another party ally, AAP, which did not conform to the Congress’s official stance.

Announcing Mr. Nirupam’s expulsion late on Wednesday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement, “Noting the complaints of indiscipline and anti-party statements, the Hon’ble Congress President has approved Mr. Sanjay Nirupam’s expulsion from the party for six years with immediate effect.”

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

After dropping him as the star campaigner, a defiant Mr. Nirupam hit out at 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 with the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra, announced its list of 16 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls on March 27. Amol Kirtikar – son’s name was also included in this list. Incumbent MP – For North West Mumbai seat, inspired by Mr. Nirupam.

“The way the Shiv Sena UBT has bagged five Mumbai seats, it looks like there is a plan to bury the Congress in Mumbai. It looks like the Shiv Sena wants to force the Congress to its knees,” said a senior Congress leader, who has been in the Lok Sabha. Mumbai North Constituency MP, Rajya Sabha MP and Party Mumbai Unit President Dr.

“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 big mistake,” he added.

Criticizing Uddhav Thackeray over the split in Shiv Sena engineered by current Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Mr. Nirupam called him “Bachi Kuchi Shiv Sena President (Head of what’s left of the Shiv Sena)”.

He also hit out at Mr Kirtikar, 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 seat-sharing difficulties of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which is part of the Bharat Alliance at the Centre.

‘We will announce the decision tomorrow’

After removing him from the list of star campaigners, Mr Nirupam hinted at the suspension of Congress accounts and said it should use its stationery and power 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 experiencing severe financial crisis. The deadline I gave. Party Ends today. I will spell out my next steps tomorrow,” he tweeted.

The deadline was a reference to his earlier comments giving the Congress a week to decide to end its alliance with the Shiv Sena (UBT).

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

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