The Lok Sabha election is yet to begin in Maharashtra but the anti-Prithviraj Chavan leaders have started lobbying against him for the coveted job. According to sources, leaders like MPCC president Manikrao Thakre, Narayan Rane, Dr Patangrao Kadam and Ashok Chavan have already started a negative campaign against Prithviraj Chavan and doesn’t want him to continue with the CM’s post if the Congress fails to maintain the 17 seats won by it during the 2009 Lok Sabha election. All these leaders share a hate relationship with Chavan and consider him as an outsider. They have often criticised Chavan for making slow-paced decisions which was hampering the state’s development.
No senior leader has come forward to support Chavan when he had campaigned in his home constituency. This only goes to show that Chavan doesn’t feature in good books of these leaders. Earlier too there have been reports about differences between Manikrao Thakre and Prithviraj Chavan which both of them have denied. However, the manner in which incidents are unfolding within the party only goes to show that most of these leaders are planning a strategy to corner Chavan. Thus Chavan finds himself isolated within the party and is fighting a lone battle in this election.
It was a huge setback for Prithviraj Chavan when Ashok Chavan was granted a ticket even though his name had featured in the Adarsh scam. Chavan commands the support of 45 MLAs of the state and is likely to stake his claim for the post the Maharashtra CM after the conclusion of election. The battle for CM’s post is only going to intensify as the assembly election too is scheduled to happen in the state this year. Chavan commands a huge support base in the Marathwada region of the state.
“Though circumstances were different in 2009, if Prithviraj Chavan is not able to retain those 17 seats, then a group of state Congress leaders will start a negative campaign against his leadership. Ashok Chavan and Manikrao Thakre will intensify their anti-CM campaign after the Lok Sabha results. Other aspirants for CM’s post Narayan Rane, Balasaheb Thorat, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Harshw-ardhan Patil are not taking much interest beyond their own constituency, which clearly means that the CM is all on his own and fighting this battle as a one man army,” said the Congress leader.
Many feel that irrespective of the outcome of the parliamentary polls, a change of guard in Maharashtra is necessary if the party is to retain power in the ensuing assembly elections. “Prithviraj Chavan has the Mr Clean image, but the need is of an administration which can take fast decisions,” a Congress minister observed.