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Congress to name Deshmukh's successor

india Updated: Dec 04, 2008 17:18 IST

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Senior Congress leaders Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony are leaving for Mumbai as central observers of the party to oversee the election of a successor to Vilasrao Deshmukh who has been asked to step down in the wake of the terror attacks in the metropolis.

"Both of us are going as observers," Antony said on Thursday morning.

Mukherjee had said yesterday that views of the MLAs on the leadership issue will be sought at the meeting of the state Congress Legislature Party.

Mukherjee had declined to hazard any guess as to who would be next Chief Minister and whether he would be a Dalit or from the Maratha community.

Among the contenders for the top post is union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, a Dalit, while all others, including Prithivraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan and Narayan Rane are from the dominant Maratha community.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar is also expected to go to Mumbai for consulations with state party leaders. Pawar has been authorised by the NCP legislature party to name its leader to succeed R R Patil as the next deputy chief minister.