A day after his senior cabinet colleague Narayan Rane raised a banner of revolt, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Saturday claimed the support of Congress high command and that his position "is sound".
"I am calm and my position is sound with the support of party high command which is fully in the know of the things that are happening," Deshmukh who was at Manjri, around 20 kms from here to attend AGM of Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), told reporters after the meet.
His reaction came in response to queries regarding yesterday's statement made by Rane in Delhi castigating Deshmukh for "non-performance" of Congress-NCP government and failing the people of the state reeling under a severe power crunch, growing number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers and a "deteriorating" law and order.
Rane is a known contender for the post of Chief Minister since his exit from Shiv Sena and entry into Congress in mid-2005.
Seeking to play down Rane's remarks, Deshmukh said "why are you taking his utterances so seriously? The freedom to air one's views is part of the internal democracy in Congres. This does not threaten my position".
Asked whether Rane's open attack on him after a meeting with AICC General Secretary Margaret Alva, in charge of party affairs in Maharashtra, meant the Revenue Minister enjoyed the blessings of the party high command, Deshmukh told PTI that he too enjoyed her blessings.
Rane, a former Chief Minister during Shiv Sena-BJP rule in Maharashtra, had told reporters he would meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday.