A Congress leader on Friday stunned a gathering addressed by party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi by demanding importance to loyalists in the party hierarchy.
Mumbai Congress Vice-President Vasant Nanavare grabbed the opportunity to speak out his mind, embarrassing Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra in-charge of All India Congress Committee (AICC) Mohan Prakash and state Congress president Manikrao Thakre.
Nanavare urged Rahul Gandhi to ensure that dedicated party loyalists who had devoted their whole lives to the organisation must be encouraged vis-a-vis those who have recently joined the party.
He said some people, who had in the past criticised Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and other top leaders, were occupying important posts in the party hierarchy.
According to Nanavare, some of these leaders were engaged in sabotaging the good work done by Chavan and urged Gandhi to intervene.
"How can we tolerate a person like Mohan Prakash as the AICC in-charge for Maharashtra? He was part of the movement led by Jayprakash Narain (in the 1970s) and had criticised and abused Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and others... Now, party workers are being instigated to work against Chavan," Nanaware said, pointing a finger of suspicion at state party chief Thakre, according to an official who was present.
Nanaware's utterances received a resounding round of applause even as Prakash, Chavan, Thakre and MPs Sanjay Nirupam and Eknath Gaekwad were a picture of silent embarrassment.
Unfazed by the outburst, Gandhi assured that he was in the process of setting up internal rules and regulations for the party which would give equal treatment to all. He declared that the rules and regulations would come "very soon" for all.
Gandhi had a hectic day interacting with party workers in a series of meeting held at the Congress headquarters, Tilak Bhavan at Dadar, central Mumbai, after his arrival in Mumbai on Friday morning.
This was his first trip to the state after taking over as Congress' second-in-command on January 19.