Pune: With civic elections approaching in the
city, Congress party workers are now finding themselves
direction-less in the absence of a strong local leader.
Notwithstanding the factional discontent which suspended
Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi generated because of his style of
functioning, the three-time Lok Sabha member from Pune - ruled
the civic politics, garnering the support of a majority of
Corporators and having a final say in the development profile
of this fast expanding city.
As "sabse bada khiladi, Suresh Kalmadi" (popular
slogan of his supporters in Pune) remains in Tihar jail,
facing charges of alleged corruption in CWG, Kalmadi`s
detractors, who could not go beyond a whispering campaign when
he was calling the shots, are now finding themselves
The party faces tough electoral battle against formidable
NCP and the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in early next year`s civic
Apparently acknowledging the ground reality that no single
person would have the clout enjoyed by Kalmadi to lead the
party workers here, a group of prominent Congressmen are now
speaking in one voice demanding "collective leadership" to
decide on the political strategy for the party.
"If we don`t evolve a collective leadership to strengthen
the Congress after the recent development (Kalmadi`s arrest
and suspension from party), there is a distinct possibility
that other parties would try to engineer an exodus from the
party," cautioned Ulhas Pawar, an MLC considered close to
Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.