Ashok Chavan leads race for Cong Maharashtra chief

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 02, 2015 21:06 IST

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan is reportedly a frontrunner for the post of Maharashtra Congress unit chief. The party leadership is expected to appoint a new state unit chief in a few days, to replace the incumbent Manikrao Thakre and boost the morale of the party.

Other names in the contest are former chief minister Narayan Rane, former Union minister Vilas Muttemwar, former state ministers Harshvardhan Patil, Nitin Raut and Shivajirao Moghe, and Rajya Sabha MP Rajani Patil. The party high command is in favour of Chavan as he is known to be a good organiser and has a strong support base.

According to the top leadership in the Congress, Chavan has almost been confirmed for the post. “There were reservations because of the two pending cases against him, but the party has taken a legal opinion. After receiving favourable advice, Chavan has become a front-runner for the post. The state unit has been almost leaderless for three months after the submission of Thakre’s resignation,” said a source.

Chavan had urged the high court to drop his name from the Adarsh scam case, after the judicial panel appointed to probe the matter gave him a clean chit. The Delhi high court had quashed a paid news case against Chavan late last year.

Sources said Chavan still enjoys cordial relations with the party high command, who feel his popularity among party workers, and dynamic leadership skills will help the party. “He was one of the only two MPs elected in the Lok Sabha polls, in which the party fared poorly. In the Assembly elections, too, the party’s performance in Marathwada was comparatively good,” said the source.

The functionary said that chances of organisational changes in Maharashtra are high. “However, anything can happen. If the party decides to appoint a woman, they could consider Rajani Patil. The post could also go to Muttemwar or Raut if a decision is taken to give representation to Vidarbha,” another state leader said.

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