Deshmukh aides oppose Thakre’s re-election as city Congress chief | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Deshmukh aides oppose Thakre’s re-election as city Congress chief

The selection of state Congress chief is unlikely to be a tame affair as the Vilasrao Deshmukh camp on Saturday launched an offensive to capture the post.

mumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2010 00:43 IST

The selection of state Congress chief is unlikely to be a tame affair as the Vilasrao Deshmukh camp on Saturday launched an offensive to capture the post.

A delegation of Congress leaders led by Deshmukh’s close aide and Congress legislator Ulhas Pawar called on party president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday and expressed their opposition to re-election of current state Congress president Manikrao Thakre.

Sources said the delegation that including another Deshmukh supporter, Jaiprakash Chhajed and others, urged party leadership to appoint a president that would be acceptable for all.

Saturday’s development is expected to trigger a war in the state Congress that is divided between the camps led by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deshmukh both of whom want control of party’s state unit.

While Deshmukh wants his loyalist to be in the post of State Congress chief, Chavan has thrown his weight behind Thakre.

Pawar, however, denied that he met Gandhi to lobby against Thakre’s second term.

“This was regarding the membership drive in Maharashtra,” he told the media.

Deshmukh, who lost his chief ministership following 26/11 terror attacks, is keen to return to state politics. Getting control of the state party unit through state president would help him keep a check on Chavan who has managed to corner the former in past two years, say Congress insiders.

To deny Thakre another term as state president, Deshmukh has joined hands with Chavan’s political rivals within the party such as Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam and Revenue Minister Narayan Rane.