Two Maharashtra Ministers file resignations

With the Congress party decimated in Maharashtra, two State Cabinet Ministers from the party on Friday sent in their resignations. The move is being seen as an attempt to build pressure for Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s ouster. The resignations are yet to be accepted.

Industries Minister Narayan Rane said he was quitting as he was unable to ensure the victory of his son Nilesh Rane from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency. Employment Guarantee Scheme Minister Nitin Raut told The Hindu: “The victory of Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur shows that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has triumphed over the philosophy of Ambedkar. I take moral responsibility for the defeat of the Congress in my region.”

With the Maharashtra Assembly elections due in October, Congress leaders fear that the Shiv Sena–BJP alliance may come to power in the State. Many within the party are now laying the blame at Mr. Chavan’s door.

“If we have to have a chance at winning, the High Command will have to change the Chief Minister. That is very clear from this result,” a senior Congress Minister told The Hindu. He said the Congress began its campaign too late and that Mr. Chavan did not consult with party MLAs and other leaders. “It’s clear that the Congress party has lost touch with ground reality,” he added.

Several party leaders see Mr. Chavan as an outsider to State politics and more of a bureaucrat than a politician. “The Chief Minister has barely contested elections. How can he lead the State through an election? He does not know the local factors in constituencies,” said a senior Congress leader. With several contenders vying for the Chief Minister’s post, Mr. Chavan may find it difficult to keep the Congress party’s house in order.

The Congress’s alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party, has often publicly voiced its unhappiness with Mr. Chavan’s tardiness in clearing files. The delay in crucial decisions, they feel, has impacted the mandate.

Mr. Chavan, meanwhile, avoided facing the media. His official residence at Malabar Hill wore a deserted look, in sharp contrast to the celebratory mood outside BJP offices in the city.

In a statement issued to the media, Mr. Chavan said: “This result was totally unexpected. We humbly accept the verdict of the people. I accept full moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the State. The UPA implemented several pro-people schemes but did not get the result it expected.”

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 10:21:26 PM |

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