Amid reports of over half a dozen leaders in the race for the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister, Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi but maintained he was not in contention for the top job.
“No question of it. I am a minister at the Centre,” Mr. Deshmukh said when asked to comment on the reports that he was also staking his claim for Maharashtra Chief Minister’s post.
He said that the party’s Central leadership and MLAs will decide the issue of leadership in the State.
About his meeting with Ms. Gandhi, Mr. Deshmukh said he had come to congratulate the party president for the election victory in Maharashtra.
Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, who also met Ms. Gandhi separately, made a similar statement regarding his meeting with the Congress president.
“Thank You,” he said in lighter vein when asked about reports about him also being in the race.
Apart from Mr. Deshmukh, names of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Union ministers Prithiraj Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde, senior party leader Narayan Rane and PCC president Manikrao Thackeray are doing the rounds for the top job in the State.