A wave of anger spread across the city unit of the Congress when party MP and All-India Congress Committee Secretary Priya Dutt boycotted a meeting of activists in her own constituency. The leader is reportedly upset over the purposeful isolation of party members in recent public events. The meeting held in Mumbai was addressed by senior party leaders including MP Gurudas Kamat. These meetings, held in all parliamentary constituencies as per the directives of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, are aimed at strengthening the party. Along with Priya Dutt, Congress MLA from Bandra and minister of state Baba Siddique, who is her staunch supporter, also abstained from the meeting. All other MLAs of Mumbai north-west parliamentary constituency and most of the office-bearers attended the meeting. For the past few months, the relationship between Priya Dutt and the Mumbai North-west District Congress Committee and almost all local MLAs, has been strained. According to reports Gurudas Kamat had tried to convince Priya Dutt to attend the meeting but she chose to stay away. Sources say that the differences that were brewing for quite some time came out in the open when during the inauguration of a fly over in her constituency at the hands of CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, Priya Dutt was ignored by the party members completely despite her being present at the ceremony. Priya Dutt supporters say that vested interests have been campaigning against her systematically even when she was fighting the by-poll caused by her father’s death. It is learnt that a delegation of party leaders is expected to call on Sonia Gandhi and AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in soon to complain against Priya Dutt but considering her proximity to both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the opponents might be in for disappointment. From Mumbai, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
January 5, 2009