Mohite-Patil may get cabinet berth despite defeat
Mumbai: Solapur strongman and six-time MLA Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, who suffered a shock defeat in the Assembly election, is likely to be retained in the new Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra.
"Mohite-Patil is too senior a leader to ignore. He played a crucial role in ensuring the victory of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the Lok Sabha elections from Madha constituency in Solapur," a senior NCP leader said.
Mohite-Patil, former deputy chief minister and a senior member of the Ashok Chavan-led government, lost from Pandharpur.
The senior NCP leader may be accommodated in the Legislative Council, he said.
The party is likely to drop its woman member in the ministry Vimal Mundada, who won from Kej constituency in Marathwada region.
Mundada may be replaced by legislator Fauzia Khan, a staunch Pawar supporter, he said.
Another NCP minister Manohar Naik, who won from Pusad, is also on the chopping block for his "lacklustre" performance, he said.
The NCP is likely to give its Gen Next leaders Sachin Ahir (Mumbai) and Jitendra Awhad (Thane) a chance as ministers of state. The duo is better known for the lavish 'dahi handi' programmes they organise each year.
NCP's Hasan Mushrif, who won from Kagal in Kolhapur district, is also likely to be dropped, the sources said, adding Anil Deshmukh, former public works minister who won from Katol in Vidarbha region, may make a comeback.
Another strong contender for a ministerial berth is NCP's Shivendraraje Bhosale who emerged victorious from Satara in western Maharashtra.
The Congress is likely to bring back its 'Mr Professor', former minister Vasant Purke, who won from Ralegaon in Vidarbha, defeating his nearest rival and independent Ashok Uike by 40418 votes.
Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who managed to scrape through from Shirdi, is also on his way in.
The most eagerly awaited entrants from Congress side are members of the so-called 'Rahul Brigade'-- young faces, mostly heirs of leading politicians.
Names of Amit Deshmukh, son of Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Praniti Shinde, daughter of Sushilkumar Shinde, are being discussed as probables. However, since their fathers are already in ensconced in the union cabinet, their inclusion may not be a certainty.
There is also a fair chance of Prashant Thakur (Panvel) and Padmakar Valvi (Shahada) finding berth as ministers of state, the sources said.