The Congress High Command has not taken kindly to Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan moving a proposed revenue divisional commissioner’s office to his hometown of Nanded.
The issue has caused a controversy ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Chavan has now been summoned to Delhi to meet top party leaders on the issue, which has divided the state unit and the Marathwada region in which Nanded falls.
While Chavan's move may have been aimed at strengthening his own position in the area, it also put paid to Deshmukh’s dream of setting up the revenue division at Latur from where he hails. The end result: the two Maratha leaders are now at loggerheads. Sources said the party did not endorse Chavan’s decision.
“A decision will be taken in the next three or four days,’’ said a party leader, who did not want to be named.
On Monday, Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Maharashtra in charge A.K. Antony and Congress president’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel held a two-hour meeting with Maharashtra leaders, including Chavan, former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and state unit chief Manikrao Thakre to discuss the issue.
Earlier, Deshmukh had backed Chavan as his replacement as chief minister to scuttle the chances of Narayan Rane who was eyeing the post.
Burdened with 10 years of incumbency, the Congress can ill afford to go into the Lok Sabha elections as a divided house in Maharashtra. The state, along with Andhra Pradesh had played a crucial role in boosting the party’s tally in the 2004 elections.
Ironically, for the Congress, the party’s ambiguous stand on a separate Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh — and the Satyam issue — has created a controversy for the party in the state.