Maha Congress Leaders, NCP Seek Chavan’s Head
The drubbing from the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the Lok Sabha election has emboldened Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s detractors to approach the Congress high command, saying that his immediate removal is a must to improve the party’s prospects in the October assembly polls.
Influential sections of the Maharashtra Congress and ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have conveyed to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) that it must “replace the apolitical and totally disconnected” Chavan with a presentable and seasoned politician capable to leading the coalition in what will be a tough assembly election, a party source said. Several leaders also want state party chief Manikrao Thackeray too to be axed.
On Monday, former chief minister and newly elected Lok Sabha member Ashok Chavan – the man whom Prithiviraj Chavan replaced as chief minister in 2010 in the wake of the Adarsh housing complex scam – held a one-on-one meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence. While Ashok Chavan wasn’t available for comment, a source with knowledge of the discussion said the former CM has given the party chief his view about the reasons for the worst-ever Congress show in Mahrashtra in a Lok Sabha poll, and the remedial steps to be taken to try and save a terminal blow in the assembly election. NCP sources in Delhi said its party leadership has already conveyed to the AICC that it should “immediately do an honest review of the leadership effectiveness of Chavan” and take steps to salvage the situation in the remaining months before the assembly polls. Soon after Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi offered to resign, Chavan too made a similar offer, which many in the party dismiss as a token gesture to save his face.