Varsha Gaikwad takes over as first woman chief of Mumbai Congress
She said her elevation proved that the grand old party practised what it preached
Newly-appointed Mumbai Congress president Varsha Gaikwad on Friday took charge of the post and said her elevation proved that the grand old party practised what it preached.
The four-time MLA was appointed as the Mumbai Congress chief on June 9.
Elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), long due, are expected to be held before the next year's Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Speaking at a function after assuming the charge, Gaikwad said when it came to appointing women to top posts, many parties do not follow it.
"But Congress is different. It practises what it preaches...Congress has always advocated the inclusion of women in the decision-making process," she said.
Gaikwad, who is the first woman to become the Mumbai Congress president, said the next one-and-a-half years would be very crucial for the party.
"I want the party cadre to be prepared for a struggle to raise people's issues. There will be pressure to suppress us. I assure you that workers will get their dues," she said.
She said that on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's birthday on June 19, "Mohabbat ki dukan" (shop of love) should be set up by party workers at the block level.
The Congress has to fight to regain its superior position.
Also Read: International Women's Day: And Still I Rise
She said that in order to galvanise the party workers, the district units will have to conduct workshops during the weekends and added that she will visit all the 227 wards.
Former chief minister and party veteran Ashok Chavan said the elevation of Gaikwad as Mumbai Congress chief is significant as it is about empowerment of women in challenging times.
Chavan said the Maharashtra capital has always been a Congress bastion and the party's state leadership will work in coordination with the Mumbai unit.
"We will always stand by our younger sister," Chavan said.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan expressed confidence that Gaikwad will do justice to the trust reposted in her by the party leadership.
Former MP Priya Dutt exhorted party workers to give strength to Gaikwad.
Former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Gaikwad will strike a balance to win the confidence of the rich as well as the poor.
He expressed confidence that Gaikwad will boost the morale of the cadre.
Former Mumbai Congress presidents Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam were present on the occasion.
Gaikwad (48) represents Dharavi - known as the country's biggest slum cluster - in the state Assembly. She replaced Bhai Jagtap as the city Congress chief.
The Congress could not win a single seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai. The country's financial capital has six Lok Sabha and 36 Assembly seats.