New Delhi: The Congress on Friday appointed former two-time MP from Mumbai North Central, Eknath Gaikwad, as the interim president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

The 79-year-old Gaikwad, who was an MP in the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha, will succeed Milind Deora, who stepped down from his position after the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, in which it won only one seat in Maharashtra and 52 overall; it lost on all seven seats in Mumbai.

In a statement, the party said, “Congress president has approved the proposal for appointment of Eknath Gaikwad, working president, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee as the acting president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee in place of Milind Deora.”

Further, the statement also thanked the contribution of Deora, who resigned soon after Rahul Gandhi quit as the party’s national president in the wake of the debacle.

Deora took over Mumbai Congress president from Sanjay Nirupam, who, when the former resigned, had accused him of quitting to seek a ‘national-level’ position.

The appointment of Gaikwad, who represented the Mumbai South Central constituency, comes just months ahead of the Assembly elections, which are likely to take place in October. Congress was in power in the state in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) when it lost the Assembly elections five years ago and finished third behind the BJP and Shiv Sena, respectively.

BJP, which despite finishing as the single-largest party couldn’t cross the majority mark, entered into an alliance with its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally Sena, with the saffron party’s state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis taking over as Chief Minister.