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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Is Cong pitching Narayan Rane as Maharashtra CM?

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 14, 2014
First Published: 00:37 IST(14/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:41 IST(14/8/2014)

In a move to pacify rebel senior Maharashtra leader and state industries minister Narayan Rane, the Congress on Wednesday appointed him as the head of the party’s campaign committee for the upcoming assembly elections.

Nanded MP Ashok Chavan, another detractor of Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, was named the chairman of the coordination committee.

Though the Congress party usually does not follow the practice of naming a chief ministerial candidate ahead of assembly polls, Rane would be, for all practical purposes, the party’s face for the elections.

After the drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Rane had trained his guns at the CM, holding him responsible for the poor show. The Congress could barely manage to win two seats while its alliance partner NCP bagged four. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine swept the polls, winning 42 of the total 48 seats.

Rane had even resigned from the Chavan ministry last month after the Congress high command rejected his demand to remove the CM. He re-joined the state government after firm assurances that he would be suitably accommodated in the party organisation.

To placate the rebels, the Congress leadership had already decided not to project Chavan as the CM candidate. But Rane has a daunting task of leading the party campaign at a time when a demoralised Congress is struggling to recover after the Lok Sabha poll debacle.

Besides, the ruling Congress-NCP coalition is also facing an anti-incumbency of 15 years.

On the other hand, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is confident of repeating its LS performance as many leaders of the two parties believe that Modi wave is still prevailing in the country. 

The BJP is also planning to use the expertise of its new president Amit Shah to emerge victorious not only in Maharashtra but in other poll-bound states as well.

Shah is credited with his party’s resounding performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections in politically important state of Uttar Pradesh where the BJP and its allies won 73 out of the total 80 seats.

Maha tussle
* In LS polls, the Congress managed to win two seats while its alliance partner NCP bagged four.
* The BJP-Shiv Sena combine swept the polls, winning 42 of the total 48 seats.
* Rane had resigned from the Chavan ministry last month after the Congress high command rejected his demand to remove the chief minister.
* Besides, the ruling Congress-NCP coalition is also facing an anti-incumbency of 15 years.
* BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is confident of repeating its LS performance.


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