Mumbai: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress
Committee president Manikrao Thakre on Thursday said the party would
field a candidate from the state for the July 22 bye-election
to Rajya Sabha.
The bye-election is necessitated by resignation of
Prithviraj Chavan, who took over as chief minister of the
state in November last year.
Chavan resigned from Rajya Sabha seat after he got
elected unopposed to the state legislative council in April
this year. As a two-term Rajya Sabha MP, Chavan`s tenure was
to end in 2014.
Declining to reply whether Punjab Governor Shivraj
Patil is frontrunner for the nomination, Thakre said the party
would field a leader from the state itself.
To a question on whether the local candidate would
come from outside the state, Thakre said, "The final decision
will be taken by the party central leadership in a couple of
days before the process of filing nomination starts on July
Apart from Patil, name of senior leader Rohidas Patil
is also being speculated. Former MPCC chief Ranjit Deshmukh
has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi urging that
Rohidas Patil be given an opportunity.
Earlier, names of deputy chairman of Planning
Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Madhya Pradesh Congress
leader Suresh Pachauri, AICC general secretary Digivijay Singh
were doing rounds.
Thakre said the state unit had demanded that the
Centre`s support price to cotton be not less than Rs 5,000 per
The state cotton monopoly procurement scheme has
almost ceased to exist. Farmers are getting good price for
their crop at market rate and hence the Centre too should hike
the support price to not less than Rs 5000, Thakre said.
He said he had submitted a memorandum in this regard
to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary
Rahul Gandhi last week to press for this demand.
"They assured me that they would discuss the issue
with concerned authorities in the government and appropriate
steps would be taken," Thakre said.
The MPCC president also said that he had urged the
party leadership to take up with the government the matter
of expediting setting up of Chaityabhoomi development
authority and providing Indu mill land for upgradation and
modernisation of the Ambedkar memorial.