Mumbai: The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) is meeting here on Saturday to elect its new leader to be sworn in as the next chief minister of Maharashtra, but the process is expected to get delayed with several contenders in the fray for the post.
While incumbent Ashok Chavan is believed to be the frontrunner, reports now suggest that Narayan Rane – Industries Minister in the last government – is likely to oppose Chavan’s candidature at the CLP meet.
As per unconfirmed reports, Narayan Rane is claiming to have support of over 60 MLAs and will gun for the CLP leader’s post when the newly elected Congress MLAs meet later today.
Rane’s claim is likely to make things complicated and the Congress observers may be forced to hold voting to elect the leader, as against the convention of MLAs supporting the Congress president’s decision by a voice vote.
The CLP meeting will be held in the presence of AICC observers – Defence Minister AK Antony, who is Congress general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha K Rehman Khan and senior leader Digvijay Singh.
However, Congress sources insisted that party president still to take a final call on the matter.
Union Minister Gurudas Kamat is also among the hopefuls for the CM's post. Former CMs and Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, were also thought be interested to get back to Mantralaya, but now have ruled themselves out of the race.
The Congress, with 82 seats, emerged as the single largest party and its ally NCP pocketed 62 seats in the 288-member House in the recently concluded Assembly Elections.
First Published: Saturday, October 24, 2009, 16:26