Prithviraj Chavan may make way for Sushil Kumar Shinde ahead of assembly elections to lure Dalit voters.
After the severe drubbing received by the Congress party in the Lok Sabha election the party leaderships is likely to go for a change of guard in Maharashtra. According to sources, party leaders and NCP are not pleased with the functioning of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and wants him to be replaced with Sushil Kumar Shinde the party’s dalit face.
Shinde’s name is being proposed to lure Dalit voters who have distanced themselves from the party in general election. The leadership change is being considered to dodge the prospect of defeat staring the government. Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane had said that the Congress party’s performance will be worse than the results of Lok Sabha polls. Congress party leaders have accused Chavan of slow paced decision-making.
According to sources, “The infighting between the leaders of Congress party has increased after the party faced its worst defeat in the Lok Sabha election. Leaders have been urging the Congress high command to replace CM Prithviraj Chavan. According to them the party will suffer a massive debacle in assembly election if there is no leadership change. If Sushil Kumar Shinde is appointed as the CM then the party can improve its tally in the assembly polls. He has already held the top post in Maharashtra and belongs to the Dalit community.”
On the other hand, Sushil Kumar Shinde had lost Lok Sabha election from the Sholapur constituency a factor which may work against his favour. Some Congress leaders nonetheless want the party to give opportunity to youth leaders in order to negate the defeat suffered by the party in general election.
Before serving as India’s Minister of Home Affairs in the Dr Manmohan Singh government, Sushil Kumar Shinde served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 2003-2004.
The names of Congress MLAs Balasaheb Thorat, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Harshavardhan Patil too are said to be doing the rounds as Chavan’s replacement.
The Congress won only two seats out of the total 48 in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha polls, the results for which was declared on May 16. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance bagged 41 seats, while the NCP-Congress won only 6 seats.
At the national level, the BJP won 282 seats on its own and 335 along with its allies while the Congress ended up with only 44 seats. Maharashtra goes to polls in October and the Congress-NCP is likely to be routed out of power after 15 years.