Mumbai: Against the backdrop of Lok Sabha poll debacle, the working
committee of Maharashtra NCP will meet here on Wednesday amid reports of a reshuffle which could see its Maratha president Bhaskar Jadhav being replaced by a backward class leader.
According to party sources, NCP chief Sharad Pawar was planning to appoint a backward class leader to head the party ahead of the legislative assembly elections due in October.
Incumbent president Bhaskar Jadhav is likely to be replaced by either PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal or Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare, sources said.
Tatkare, who belongs to the Gawli community, is a close aide of Pawar`s nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, while Bhujbal, a Mali, was the first to head the state unit when NCP was formed in 1999.
Both had lost in the recent Lok Sabha elections which saw the NCP`s tally plunge to an all-time low of four seats. The party had contested 21 of 48 seats in the state.
Sources said Sharad Pawar, a Maratha strongman, was keen on appointing an OBC leader as state party chief as nephew Ajit was already in a powerful position in the government.
"Pawar does not want another Maratha (Bhaskar Jadhav) to head the state organisation," they said, adding the NCP chief wanted a backward class leader from his party to fill the vacuum created due to the death of BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
Sources said political situation has changed with the sudden death of senior Munde, a popular OBC face, and there was unease among the common people over the steep rail fare hike.
"With Munde`s demise, there is a vacuum for OBC leadership in the state and people are angry over the rising prices and steep hike in train fares," they added.
Most top leaders of the party including Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel will attend the meeting.