The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Maharashtra will convene on Saturday to elect a new leader even as some MLAs have headed for New Delhi to pitch for ministerial posts. Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president Kripa Shankar Singh was among those who went to the capital on Thursday, along with other aspirants.
After the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) win in the Assembly elections, the focus now is on who will be appointed Chief Minister. The front runner seems to be the incumbent Ashok Chavan, who was chosen after Vilasrao Deshmukh stepped down in the wake of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror strike.
Mr. Chavan is modest about his claim and maintains that it is for the high command to decide.
Show of unity
The Congress went through the elections with a great show of unity. Industries Minister Narayan Rane, a bitter critic of Mr. Deshmukh, now Union Minister, campaigned for his son Amit Deshmukh in Latur. Both Mr. Deshmukh and Mr. Rane jointly addressed election meetings.
The CLP meeting will be attended by All India Congress Committee (AICC) observers A.K. Antony, Digvijay Singh and Rehman Khan. Among the aspirants for the top post is Mr. Rane, whose stock, however, is not so high at present. He won in Kudal by a margin of 24, 162 votes. However, the Congress lost Kankavli and Rajapur in Sindhudurg district, much to Mr. Rane’s chagrin.
It was he who got the Shiv Sena rebel, Sada Sarvankar, to join the Congress. But Mr. Sarvankar lost the prestigious election in Mumbai’s Mahim to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
Revenue Minister Patangrao Kadam too has made a pitch for the Chief Minister’s post after staving off rebellion to come through in his constituency of Palus Kadegaon.
In the NCP, the race is on for the post of Deputy Chief Minister. With 62 seats, the party has come second, unlike in 2004 when it won 71 seats. The NCP will wait for a couple of days before calling a meeting of its newly elected MLAs.