Chief Ministerial candidates are aplenty in Maharashtra with leaders of all hue seeking the top job but in Haryana incumbent Bhupinder Singh appears to be far ahead in the race in the October 13 Assembly polls.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who has been just 10 months in office, has made it known that he is an aspirant for heading the next government after the polls.

Chavan had replied in the affirmative when asked whether he would be the claimant for the top post if the Congress-led alliance gains majority in the upcoming polls.

His predecessor and Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh says that he is “happy” at the Centre and similar is the line of another Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, whom Deshmukh succeeded as chief minister after the last polls.

Being senior leaders, Deshmukh and Shinde have been entrusted with key responsibilities in the polls. Deshmukh heads the party’s Election Management Committee while Shinde the Campaign Committee. But despite their public postures, the talk in party circles is that they could be in the race for the Chief Ministership.

A section of Congress feels that Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan could emerge the dark horse after the polls while Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman Narayan Rane has not given up his ambition to become the Chief Minister again.

The official line of the AICC as elaborated by party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed is: “the standard procedure for election of a Chief Minister is that the newly elected MLAs elect the leader in consultation with the party high command”.

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