New Delhi: Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane’s politically significant meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday has fuelled speculation that state’s incumbent Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan may soon be summoned to Delhi as part of an impending Union Cabinet reshuffle.
Reports, Saturday, claimed that the possible rejig in Congress’ Maharashtra unit is part of proposed changes in the party set-up in the state as well as the Union Cabinet.
Rane, a one-time contender for the Chief Minister’s chair, met Congress chief yesterday afternoon sparking speculation that he may take over as chief minister from Prithviraj Chavan.
Among other contenders for the chief minister`s position are the state`s Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.
Congress sources in Maharashtra clim that the incumbent chief minister is having an unpleasant time with party legislators openly expressing doubts of being re-elected, blaming Chavan’s sluggish handling of political issues.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), with whom the party shares power in state, has also made its dissatisfaction with the alliance clear. It has told Congress that the NCP members want Chavan to be removed at the earliest as he is uncommunicative and unresponsive to their requests, and slow to implement key infrastructure projects.
The Congress also wants to make peace with ally NCP by removing Chavan.
The NCP is part of the Congress-led UPA government at the centre so Chavan`s exit could help smoothen what has recently been a tense relationship between the two sides.
Hand-picked Chavan was minister of state in the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) till he was deputed in November 2010 to implement a course-correction for the Congress.
When quizzed by the reporters, Chavan dismissed reports of change in leadership in the state. He added that he doesn`t know about any such change, and will follow the party`s orders.