In Delhi, Maha Cong lead­ers blame CM for rout

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Iftikhar Gi­lani @ dna in­box@ dnain­dia. net

At least 20 Congress lead­ers from Ma­ha­rash­tra, who de­posed be­fore the AK Antony- led study com­mit­tee in Delhi spoke against chief min­is­ter Prithvi­raj Cha­van, blam­ing him solely for the rout in the Lok Sabha polls. The com­mit­tee, con­sti­tuted by Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi, is in­ter­act­ing with state lead­ers to go into the rea­son of the poor­est show.

The state lead­ers, led by for­mer CM Ashok Cha­van and Narayan Rane, also at­tacked AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary Mo­han Prakash, in- charge of the Ma­ha­rash­tra. How­ever, in­sid­ers said, Antony ruled out any change in the state lead­er­ship, when elec­tions are just months away, but told the rag­ing lead­ers he would con­vey their feel­ings to Gandhi.

Sources said most of the lead­ers blamed Cha­van for not pro­vid­ing match- ing re­sources to the can­di­dates to con­test elec­tions. They also re­ferred to his com­mit­ment, which he didn’t ful­fil, leav­ing the con­test­ing lead­ers in the lurch. Though the lead­ers met the com­mit­tee separately, the com­mon com­plaint was there was no lead­er­ship or a sup­port sys­tem in place.

Rane told Antony that cen­tral lead­er­ship should not be sur­prised if sim­i­lar re­sults are re­peated in the forth­com­ing as­sem­bly poll, if Cha­van is al­lowed to con­tinue. He also called for struc­tural changes, not only by mov­ing Cha­van out but also all those in com­mand, in­clud­ing Prakash and the PCC chiefs. Rane even as­serted that he would take dras­tic steps as he won’t con­test un­der the present state lead­er­ship.

Oth­ers, how­ever, told the com­mit­tee that dis­as­ter is await­ing Congress ir­re­spec­tive of Cha­van’s re­moval. They felt the die is al­ready cast for Congress as the cen­tral lead­er­ship did not act de­spite re­peated pleas for the past many months.

Cha­van, how­ever, re­futed all charges lev­elled against him,. He at­trib­uted the poor Lok Sabha show to the Modi wave sweep­ing the state, just like the coun­try. He coun­tered the charge of the re­source crunch, point­ing out that even the cab­i­net min­is­ters and se­nior MPs who have no short­age of funds could not win and that shows re­source crunch is only a fa­cade against him. He was con­fronted by the de­po­si­tion of some of the for­mer MPs, who com­plained that, at times, there was no one to fill oil tanks of ve­hi­cles pro­vided by the party for the cam­paign.

“There was no level- play­ing field be­cause of lack of re­sources and no co­or­di­na­tion. Most party work­ers did not ac­tively work in the Lok Sabha elec­tions as they were an­gry at Cha­van,” a leader told dna. They also com­plained that the govern­ment was vir­tu­ally paral­ysed be­cause of Cha­van’s at­ti­tude and that re­sulted in lead to the BJP- Shiv Sena com­bine.

Cha­van is be­lieved to have as­sured the com­mit­tee that his govern­ment was tak­ing de­ci­sions on a war foot­ing to change people’s per­cep­tion. He re­port­edly told the com­mit­tee that his prime fo­cus right now is to solve the drink­ing wa­ter prob­lem caused by the drought­like sit­u­a­tion in most districts.

The Antony com­mit­tee in­cludes AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary Mukul Was­nik and sec­re­taries Av­inash Pande and RC Khuntia. On Satur­day, they in­ter­acted with some 22 Ma­ha­rash­tra lead­ers, in­clud­ing the chief min­is­ter, PCC chief Manikrao Thakre and Mum­bai PCC chief Ja­nar­dan Tan­durkar.

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