Mumbai: The new equation of the Shiv Sena and the Republican Party, which have joined hands in Maharashtra, has left no other option for the Congress high command but to appoint a Hindi speaking leader as the state party president.

Moreover, with the submission of the present Congress state president, Kripashankar Singh’s resignation six months back, the party is in a dire need of selecting a candidate who would be able to appeal the nearly 25 percent Hindi speaking population in the state.

With the upcoming Mahanagar Palika elections in Maharashtra, all the political parties have their eyes fixed on it and have even started chalking out their electoral strategy for the polls.
Keeping the elections in view, the BJP and the Nationalist Congress Party have bestowed the presidential responsibility on Rajpurohit and Narendra Verma respectively, as both the leaders belong to Hindi speaking belt.

Congress has already reaped the benefits of appointing Hindi speaking president in the last Lok Sabha elections when it registered win in three out of six seats here. In the last Assembly elections here also, the party won eight out of 34 seats thanks to the same factor.
Now, the Congress is banking on the Hindi-speaking candidate factor to oust the 17-year-old rule of Shiv Sena-BJP over the Mumbai Mahanagar Palika.

Keeping the language equation in mind, many times the Congress high command has held discussions in this regard with the Hindi speaking Congress leaders in the state, including North Mumbai MP Sanjay Nirupam and Rajhans Singh, leader of opposition for the past 7 years in Mumbai Mahanagar Palika.

Apart from Singh, Punjabi community representative Amarjit Singh Manhas and South Mumbai MP Milind Deora are also in the race for the post of Congress state president.
Dalit MP Eknath Gaekwad is also being considered as a potential candidate for the post. But with another influential Dalit leader Ramdas Athwale joining hands with Shiv Sena, the significance of Gaekwad in garnering Dalit votes may be marred as Athwale has always been more in-demand than Gaekwad.

This leaves the Congress with only one lean back factor- the North Indian voters. 

(JPN/Bureau)