- Milind Deora announced his resignation as Mumbai Congress chief today
- "Is this a resignation or a ladder to climb up", Sanjay Nirupam asked
- Mr Nirupam was replaced by Milind Deora as Mumbai Congress chief in March
Senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Sunday questioned the intentions of his colleague Milind Deora soon after he resigned as the party's Mumbai unit chief, triggering an all-out war within its ranks.
Mr Nirupam, a former Mumbai Congress chief, cautioned the party against such leaders, without naming Mr Deora. "A resignation comes with a feeling of sacrifice. But here a moment later, a 'national-level' position is being sought. Is this a resignation or a ladder to climb up? The party should be cautious with such 'hard-working' people," he tweeted in Hindi.
Sanjay Nirupam was removed as the party's city unit chief in March to contest parliamentary elections from the Mumbai Northwest seat. He was replaced by Milind Deora just weeks before the city went to polls. The spat between the two leaders started back in February when Mr Deora made critical statements against the then-Mumbai Congress leadership.
Earlier today, Mr Deora announced that he was stepping down after a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, who has also quit as the Congress president. "I had accepted MRCC president-ship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi," the 42-year-old said.
"I have suggested a three-member panel (to oversee the city party unit) and am being consulted by leaders to identify names" he said. Mr Deora said he was looking forward to playing a role at the national level to help stabilise the party. "Needless to say, I will continue to guide and unite the Mumbai Congress," he said in a statement.
Rahul Gandhi quit as party president on May 25, taking responsibility for his party's crushing defeat in the general election. The Congress won only 52 of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha election this year.
Since then, a string of resignations by several leaders have followed. Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is also a close aide of Mr Gandhi, also announced his resignation on Twitter on Sunday.
"I haven't resigned today. I had submitted my resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi 8-10 days ago," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Other leaders who have since quit their posts include, UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who resigned as the party's general secretary in-charge of Assam.
Earlier this week, Mr Gandhi shared an open letter on Twitter, listing his reasons to quit from the top post. He had also written in the letter that he would take no part in the selection of his successor.
It is unclear whether his resignation has been accepted by the party. Senior leaders met in Delhi on Saturday, but the party said there was no discussion on who would be the next Congress chief.