The Congress on Saturday embarked on a damage control exercise to quell dissidence in Maharashtra particularly after state revenue minister Narayan Rane’s outburst against chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday even as the party geared up for the Gujarat Assembly poll outcome with the Gujarat Congress chief Bharat Solanki holding a last minute meeting with the party president Sonia Gandhi.
Solanki had airdashed to Delhi to submit a detailed constituency-wise detail to Sonia. Later, he claimed that the party will win 110 seats. “ I have given a detailed analysis in support of our claim to Sonia,” he said before flying back to Ahmedabad.
Rane, who has been camping here to seek change in leadership, also met Sonia in the backdrop of his criticism of the Deshmukh dispensation for “ not doing much” for the people. The erstwhile Shiv Sanik who had joined the Congress two years back was accompanied by senior party leader Ahmed Patel and AICC General Secretary incharge Maharashtra Margret Alva. Prior to meeting Sonia, he confabulated with Patel and Alva. Later they jointly met Sonia, Congress sources said.
As a part of the damage control exercise, the AICC media department chairperson Veerappa Moily tried to set the record straight. He termed Rane’s outburst as “ an act of indiscipline”. "No one in the party and no one in the government can make such remarks openly against the Chief Minister and grievances if any, should be raised in the party fora. Going to the press is quite inappropriate," said Moily.
A close Rane aide KL Gidwani downplayed former’s criticism of the Congress-led Maharashtra government. “ Rane has only expressed his views on the government’s responsibility towards people. It is not indicative of any serious crisis in the party,” he told the Hindustan Times.