The Congress party overlooked former CM Prithviraj Chavan to name Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil as head of party’s legislative unit in Maharashtra Assembly.
MLA from Shirdi, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was agriculture minister in Chavan’s cabinet.
Senior party leaders like Patangrao Kadam and Balasaheb Thorat were amomng the others in contention for the post.
The side lining of Chavan was on expected lines as many party leaders have been gunning for him after debacles in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Congress secured 42 of 288 Assembly seats, in worst-ever showing in the state since its creation in 1960.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Congress gets the post of leader of opposition, the matter has become further complicated after the Shiv Sena – with 63 MLAs – indicating that it may opt to sit in the opposition if power sharing talks with BJP fail.
Interestingly, Chavan had earlier said he was not in the race for the post of CLP leader.
“I have asked the party not to give me any responsibility,” Chavan, who won from Karad South constituency, had said earlier.
“In the last 15 years, I have held many responsibilities in the party and now I have got back my constituency. I want to spend time meeting people and working for my constituency,” Chavan said.
However, his rivals in the party minced no words in their criticism of his style of functioning.
“Congress fared miserably in the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls under Prithviraj Chavan’s leadership. It would be unfair if he is made CLP leader,” Abdul Sattar, an MLA from Marathwada and confidante of former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said.
“There is tremendous resentment among newly elected MLAs and candidates who lost due to how the campaign was run,” he said, adding around 25 to 30 candidates lost because adequate funds were not given to them to run their campaign.
Senior Congress leader and party’s election campaign committee chief Narayan Rane had also made a veiled criticism of the former Chief Minister, saying many candidates had not been provided funds and some party leaders had given up the fight even before the voting.
“It is the responsibility of the Chief Minister as the funds are normally routed to the candidates through the Chief Minister,” Rane had said, adding during the campaign he had come across complaints about resources not reaching candidates.