The challenges Chief Minister-designate Prithviraj Chavan faces are many and include the impact of the housing scam, the influence of various lobbies, including the builders’ lobby, on state politics, intra-party factionalism and the pulls and pressures of running a coalition.
“As MoS in the PMO, I’ve seen coalition politics from close quarters in UPA-I and UPA-II. So, I’m not new to it,” Chavan said on Wednesday.
Before leaving for Mumbai, he was already on the job, trying to mend fences with NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The two Marathas, known for their antipathy towards each other till recently, spent 25 minutes discussing their plan of action for the state.
Asked about his anti-Pawar identity, Chavan said, “It’s not true. We have our own party, they have theirs. We are trying to grow on our own as a national party. We are in coalition in the state and at the Centre, but we have also contested against each other in local elections.”
Asked if he was Rahul Gandhi’s choice, Chavan said, “I will not say this. It is the high command’s decision.”
Reacting to another question, he said he would follow what the state’s first chief minister Y B Chavan had said — that the state is not just of Marathas, it is also of Marathi culture.
Congress’s former CMs Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh promised cooperation to Chavan. His selection “is 101 per cent right,” said Deshmukh. Deshmukh said: “Our leader Sonia Gandhi has appointed Chavan as chief minister and we welcome it. Chavan is a senior leader, has been active in state campaigns and knows Maharashtra very well.”