New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday held consultations with senior leaders from Maharashtra including Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the wake of party leader Narayan Rane announcing his decision to quit Chavan cabinet pitching for a change of leadership there.
Former Home Minister and senior leader from Maharashtra Sushilkumar Shinde and PCC Chief Manikrao Thakre were also present at the meeting. Earlier, Nanded MP and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan met Shinde separately.
The meeting also comes at a time when the NCP is putting pressure on the Congress to give it more seats in the Assembly polls, which are due this year in Maharashtra where Congress and Sharad Pawar`s party are in alliance in for 15 years.
NCP has been demanding a larger share of seats this time on the ground that it had fared better than Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress-NCP alliance ruling the state since 1999 was decimated in the Lok Sabha polls with NCP securing four seats and Congress only two.
In 2009 Assembly polls, NCP had fielded its candidates in 114 constituencies against Congress` 174. This time NCP wants the seat sharing formula to be at least 50:50, which means both parties should contest 144 seats each.
Rane, who had announced his decison to resign from the Maharashtra Cabinet, is scheduled to meet the Chief Minister at 10 am tomorrow in Mumbai.
Addressing a meeteing in Kankavali in the state today, Rane trained his guns on the Chief Minister and said that Assembly elections results would not be different from the Lok Sabha polls if they were fought under the present leadership.
Addressing his supporters in Kankavali, Rane, who had quit the Shiv Sena in 2005 to join Congress, said he was yet to take a call on his future political course.
Maharashtra PCC chief Thakre had yesterday said that Rane had no reason to complain.
Rane, who is believed to be nursing the ambition of becoming the Chief Minister, had announced that he was going to resign from the cabinet on Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Nagpur yesterday, Thakre said the party gave Rane cabinet berth with important portfolios.
His allegation that the high command was ignoring him was not "justified", the state Congress chief said.
On Friday, Rane had also hit back at Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray for his Rane "not welcome in saffron camp" remark and asserted a "real" politician has vacancy everywhere.
It is believed that Rane decided to quit from the Chavan ministry to protest against the failure of the Congress high command to remove Chavan in the wake of the humiliating defeat of Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Though I am resigning from the government, I will not quit Congress," Rane had said.
Rane`s decision to quit the cabinet is being viewed as a setback for the crisis-ridden Congress-NCP alliance, particularly in view of coming assembly polls.