Congress may change Opp. leader in BMC

Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) may consider changing its leader of Opposition in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as Dhyanraj Nikam has failed to fulfill the expectations of the party.
The possible frontrunners in the race for the coveted post are Devendra (Bala) Amberkar, Sheetal Mhatre, Pravin Chheda, Suresh Koparkar and Mohsin Haider. Mr Nikam, who is serving his third term as a corporator, was appointed as the Opposition leader last year in March, but was unable to perform well. A reason given by his sympathisers is that Mr Nikam has been suffering from a cardiac problem, which has affected his performance.
“After the appointment of Janardan Chandurkar as the new MRCC chief in April this year, he realised the non-performance of the party in BMC and decided to revive the situation. As a result, the exercise to change the face of the party in the civic body has been started,” said a senior party functionary, on the condition of anonymity.
Congress party has 52 corporators of the total 227 seats in the civic body. According to the sources, Mr Koparkar was said to be close to MLA and former MRCC chief Kripashankar Singh, while, Mr Amberkar was one of the close aides of senior MP Gurudas Kamat. Their names were in the fray last year too when Mr Nikam was chosen for the prestigious post.
“Ms Mhatre is a close aide of party MP Sanjay Nirupam and Mr Kamat, too. Mr Chheda enjoys a cordial relationship with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who had arranged his entry in Congress after he left BJP. While, Mr Haider too belongs to the Kamat camp,” said another senior party functionary.
Reacting to this, Mr Chandurkar said that he had no such intentions, but one could not deny that Mr Nikam was not well and that it has affected party’s performance. “Before taking such a decision I have to discuss the issue with our senior leaders and come to a consensus,” the MRCC chief said.

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