State Congress president Manikrao Thakre on Monday indirectly put the blame for the party’s defeat in the state on Prithviraj Chavan, while hinting at the possibility that the former CM may not be chosen as the leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
Thakre said that despite putting together collective leadership, Chavan was the focus of the entire Congress campaign. “At the end of the day, it’s the government and its leader, who is projected in the [election] campaign,” Thakre, whose resignation as state party president has not been accepted by the top brass in Delhi so far.
Thakre claimed that three other senior leaders, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Narayan Rane, had all delivered in their capacity as manifesto, co-ordination and campaign chiefs respectively, even though they were engaged in their personal election campaigns.
Thakre also told HT that the Congress will consider promoting young leadership in the role of the Congress legislative party (CLP) chief.
The CLP chief will be the leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, and, so far, it was being said that Chavan will be the de facto choice for this post.
Claiming that the decision will be taken by the party following a meeting with all legislators, Thakre said, “There are several senior leaders including Chavan, Patangrao Kadam, Balasaheb Thorat, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who can be considered for the post. We also have young emerging leaders we would like to promote in the coming days.”
According to the state Congress chief, one of the main reasons for the party’s defeat was its failure to publicise its work and use the media effectively.
“Instead of just focussing on our achievements in the last month, if we had publicised our best schemes for a year, we might have done better. The BJP was successful in creating a negative image of the former government and Congress through publicity campaigns,” he said.
The other reasons for the defeat, as analysed by the state Congress, include splitting of votes with smaller parties like the BSP, MIM, NCP and anti-incumbency.
Thakre will be in Delhi on Tuesday to meet the top brass for a review of organisational elections being held in the party.