TOP LEADERS IN THE LOOP?
Sources in the Congress claimed that there is a strong possibility of the state leadership being kept in the loop about the cross voting by Shetty and Mhatre and hence, no decision has been taken against them yet. Mhatre is known to be a close associate of state Congress president Ashok Chavan who has visited his home a couple of times when he was the chief minister. “Both of them have recently been nominated for the state party posts and are close to the top leaders. They couldn’t possibly have risked taking such a major step without their knowledge,” said a source.
He added, “It is a known fact that the Congress does not want NCP to grow and that it has never been comfortable with Ganesh Naik. The cross voting could be a large plan orchestrated at the highest level
to ensure the NCP suffers a humiliating defeat.” He stated that making Mira Patil, a close associate of Shetty, a standing committee member this year, pointed to things that were to come.
“It is highly unlikely that any major action will be taken against any of the leaders. In the past too there have been several such instances of party leaders in the city going against the state policy but facing little action,” said the source. Denying any bigger plan, Antulay said, “I am not aware of any plan and such talk is irresponsible.” He explained, “Decision making in the Congress takes time as we are a national party and not a regional party. There are procedures to be followed and state and national level deliberations take place before a final decision is taken.”