Rumblings within the Congress suggest that its state unit may be in for a major overhaul, with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s job as the chief minister at stake. Insiders claim that some partymen are lobbying hard with the high command to bring in changes to the organisation and to the state government.
A top leader based in New Delhi told HT on Tuesday that two plans were doing rounds of the corridors of power. One plan is to replace state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and induct him into the state cabinet. The other plan pertains to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who some senior party legislators want to be sent back to the Centre.
“Some CM aspirants, including Thakre, are trying to convince their godfathers in Delhi to replace Chavan. They feel he should be recalled to Delhi through a Rajya Sabha seat that fell vacant after Vilasrao Deshmukh’s death last week. On the other hand, the CM’s camp is trying to quell rebellion by placing Thakre in the cabinet under Chavan’s command,” the leader said. He added that if Thakre makes it to the Cabinet, he would demand a plum department like revenue.
When asked, Thakre dismissed any possibility of him getting a cabinet berth, but hinted that Deshmukh’s legislator son Amit could be inducted in the state’s council of ministers soon.
A Maharashtra-based leader said though Chavan was seen as one of the cleanest leaders in the party, many doubt his ability to win numbers in the 2014 polls.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said the Congress needs to time Chavan’s replacement, if at all, appropriately. “The state Congress faces a major crisis of leadership and the country faces an economic slowdown. Does the party have any suitable candidate to replace Chavan to arrest such troubles? Chavan is a leader of stature who commands great respect in New Delhi.”
However, Jondhale predicted Chavan’s exit early next year. “This would be out of political compulsions.”