New Delhi: Congress` choice of a new Chief Minister in Maharashtra to succeed Ashok Chavan could be influenced by its ally NCP`s reported move to make Ajit Pawar the Deputy Chief Minister.
NCP`s giving signals that it might bring Ajit Pawar, a
leader from dominant Maratha community, as the Deputy Chief
Minister is likely to be a factor in Congress` choice of its
legislature party leader in the state, a senior Congress
leader from Maharashtra said.
No decision has yet been taken and the issue is still
open. A decision will be taken tomorrow, highly-placed
Congress sources said soon after CLP tonight authorised
Congress President Sonia Gandhi to choose its new leader.
Earlier, Congress sources had made it known that an
announcement of the new leader who will succeed Chavan as
Chief Minister will be made tonight and that too in Mumbai.
Congress has to take a call on whether the new leader
would be from the Maratha or any other community.
NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who is currently the Deputy
Chief Minister, is an OBC leader.
Names of Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra
Minister Balasaheb Thorat were doing the rounds as possible
successors to Ashok Chavan ahead of the meeting in
Mumbai of Congress Legislature Party to elect a new leader.
Both the leaders are from dominant Maratha community.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has already given indication
about the possible choice of the Congress in Maharashtra
noting that the next Chief Minister should be a "clean" person
who can "deliver".
While senior Maharashtra ministers like Narayan Rane,
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Harshavardhan Patil are also
being seen as possible contenders, a section of the party says
they are newcomers to Congress and therefore should wait for
some more time.
Rane was former Chief Minister in Shiv Sena-BJP
government in which Vikhe Patil was a Sena Minister as was
Harshavardhan Patil, then an independent MLA. All the three
leaders are also from Maratha community like the outgoing