Even as a bunch of Congress legislators is attempting a rebellion against chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, union minister and CM aspirant Vilasrao Deshmukh chose to play dinner diplomacy.
Deshmukh invited all Congress legislators, including Prithviraj Chavan, former chief minister Ashok Chavan, associate independent MLAs and senior party office bearers for a dinner at a south Mumbai venue on Wednesday. Deshmukh's invitation said that the dinner was a gesture to thank legislators for supporting him in getting yet another term in the Rajya Sabha.
Hours before Deshmukh's do, chief minister Chavan tried to tame the rebellion. He invited Sunil Kedar, the leader of the dissident group, for peace talks. People in the know of the meeting said that CM asked Kedar about the pending work in his constituency in Nagpur. MLAs owing allegiance to Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan are among the disgruntled lot.
However, other MLAs like Gopaldas Agarwal refused to be placated. While participating in the legislative debate on this year's budget on Wednesday, Agarwal took potshots at the CM. A legislator who attended Deshmukh's dinner told HT that the rebellion was the most discussed topic at the event. But Prithviraj Chavan and Deshmukh were friendly with each other and the dinner went off peacefully, he said.
Deshmukh’s aide said that Ashok Chavan was expected to arrive late. The two ex-CMs who had drifted apart over the past three years reconciled at Ashok Chavan's residence in Nanded last week. Both are in the dock for their role in the Adarsh scam.