Disgruntled Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam used the word "nikamma (useless)" in a tweet today that was widely read as a dart at rival Milind Deora, as infighting in the party's Maharashtra unit plumbed new depths. The former MP was tackling speculation over his absence at Rahul Gandhi's rallies in Mumbai in the tweet.
"Speculations and suspicions about my absence in RG's Mumbai rallies are meaningless. Due to an important family function I was very busy whole day, rather till late night. Had informed him in advance. He is my leader and he will be always the same for me. But why was Nikamma absent (sic)?" - Mr Nirupam posted, without taking names.
Speculations & suspicions about my absence in RG's Mumbai rallies are meaningless.— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) October 14, 2019
Due to an important family function I was very busy whole day,rather till late night.
Had informed him in advance.
He is my leader & he will be always the same for me.
But why was Nikamma absent ?
Mr Nirupam had last week declared that he would not campaign for the October 21 Maharashtra election and had made it clear that he was upset because the party had rejected candidates he had recommended. "It seems the Congress Party doesn't want my services anymore. I had recommended just one name in Mumbai for Assembly election. Heard that even that has been rejected. As I had told the leadership earlier, in that case I will not participate in poll campaign. It's my final decision," Mr Nirupam had said on Twitter, again, without taking names.
Sanjay Nirupam had been replaced by Milind Deora as the Mumbai Congress chief before the national election. After the Congress's massive election defeat, Mr Deora also stepped down. The party failed to win even one of six seats in Mumbai.
Rahul Gandhi quit as Congress president and, after weeks of struggling to come up with a non-Gandhi alternative as he had urged, the party asked his mother Sonia Gandhi to take over as interim chief. Sonia Gandhi had handed over the top job to her son Rahul in 2017 after 19 years as Congress president.
The absence of either of the two most prominent Maharashtra faces of the Congress at Rahul Gandhi's rallies again highlighted the party's disarray even months after its national election debacle.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other leaders of the BJP had earlier questioned Rahul Gandhi's absence from the campaign, saying the Congress had already given up the fight.