The Congress on Monday announced Sanjay Nirupam’s candidature from the Mumbai North-West Lok Sabha seat, but replaced him with former Union minister Milind Deora as the Grand Old Party's Mumbai unit chief.
According to sources in the party, this was in the offing for "at least four months".
"There were complaints made about Nirupam's style of functioning before Congress president Rahul Gandhi and also general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge. The matter was very much under consideration," a source said.
The source also claimed that Nirupam's removal amid poll season will not have any bearing on the prospects of the Congress in Mumbai, which has six parliamentary seats.
"Rather, appointment of a fresh face (of Deora) as the city Congress chief will mean those who were not happy with Nirupam's style of functioning and were sitting at home will be out for campaigning now," the source added.
In the 2014 election, Nirupam had faced drubbing at the hands of BJP's Gopal Shetty in the Mumbai North constituency.
Nirupam had won the seat in the 2009 general elections.
The Congress had also suffered defeat in the February 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election with Nirupam at the helm and the party could win only 31 seats, 20 less than the 2012 polls.
On announcement of his candidature from the North-West constituency, Nirupam said he had been longing for 15 years to represent the people from the seat.
Nirupam's main rival will be Shiv Sena's Gajanan Kirtikar, who won from the constituency in the previous election.
"With the blessings of Congress President @RahulGandhi I have got this opportunity to represent you in #LokSabhaElections2019.
"Do bless me. It's my promise I will never let you down," he said on Twitter.
Nirupam, a former Shiv Sena leader, had taken charge as Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president in March 2015.