Congress high command has cold-shouldered Chief Minister Ashok Chavan by denying his close associate Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil a place in the party’s five-member committee that will coordinate with ally Nationalist Congress Party over governance.
Chavan had recommended that Vikhe-Patil, transport minister, be included in the team whereas his rival group lead by former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh wanted Revenue Minister Narayan Rane to get a place.
Party high command approved of Rane’s name on Wednesday after the revenue minister and his supporters lobbied hard in New Delhi. CM’s nominee Textile Minister Naseem Khan was cleared.
Others in the team are the CM himself, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh.
The move seen as a personal victory for Rane, who has developed strong differences with Chavan ever since he was denied CM's post last year. Rane has joined hands with his one-time adversary Deshmukh and Forest Minister Patanrao Kadam.
Deshmukh, Kadam and Rane, do not approve of Chavan's way of functioning. The leaders are now trying hard to replace the existing MPCC chief with their own choice. Election of MPCC president is scheduled early next month.
The coordination committee holds meeting with its NCP counterparts to iron out differences. State NCP president Madhukar Pichad, Union Aviation Minister Praful Patel, Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R.R. Patil.