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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Modi factor won't work in Maharashtra polls: CM

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 30, 2014
First Published: 01:57 IST(30/7/2014) | Last Updated: 03:02 IST(30/7/2014)

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan feels the 'Modi factor' will not work in the upcoming assembly polls in the state, pointing out that the voting pattern in state elections are different than that in general elections.

In an interview to IBN Lokmat, Chavan talked at length about the ruling Congress' seat-sharing talks with ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Narayan Rane's rebellion and the Dhangar community's demand for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) tag, among other issues.

"Yes, I was hurt when Narayan Rane made personal comments against me, but the interest of my party was my priority. It (a public spat) would have confused the party workers and helped the Opposition. So, I requested him to meet the party high command and talk to them. I think he listened to me," Chavan said in the interview.

Read: Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane resigns

Rane, a former leader of the Shiv Sena, had recently resigned as the state industries minister, expressing unhappiness with the chief minister's leadership and the party top brass for reneging on the promise of making him the CM. As he had not quit the Congress, his resignation was seen as a pressure tactic to bargain for a better deal in the party ahead of the assembly elections due this year.

Chavan also said he had not accepted Rane's resignation and was hopeful of an amicable solution.

The chief minister kept the cards close to his chest when it came to the topic of contesting the upcoming elections. "The party high command would decide if I'd fight the election and from where. I will talk about it at the right time."

He downplayed the NCP's demand for some additional seats this time, saying the 2009 formula for assembly polls should not be changed.

The state government has made revolutionary development and there is no anger among the people, he told IBN Lokmat. He admitted there were scams, but said "they have been corrected".

The assembly elections in the state is a litmus test for the Cong-NCP ruling alliance, which managed to win just six of the 48 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the face of a wave in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister.

On the Dhangar agitation at Baramati, Chavan said he was trying to find "a middle path". "It is unfortunate that the Opposition is politicizing the issue of reservation."

Read: Dhangars want ST tag, govt in fix

The Maharashtra government, which had recently announced extending 16% quota for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in jobs and education ahead of the assembly elections, has been facing opposition from within over extending similar benefits to the Dhangars, who have launched a campaign for the ST status.


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