A week after the fiasco over cabinet expansion in Maharashtra when the Congress found it tough to finalise names, bitter competition has again marred the exercise of finalising members to be nominated to the legislative council. Four names could be decided against the six to be nominated.
Hectic lobbying was attributed to the failure to zero-in on two names.
Party sources revealed that former chief minister Ashok Chavan and Congress Maharashtra chief Manikrao Thakre wasts to include close aides. The race has been further intensified with People’s Republican Party president Jogendra Kawade, who joined hands with the Congress during the Lok Sabha poll, eyeing a legislative council nomination.
Claiming that the Congress had issued a specific pre-poll assurance in this regard, Kawade on Saturday called on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to air his demand. The CM is understood to have requested him to be patient.
Among those who made it were Prithviraj Chavan’s close aide Anandrao Patil and Thakre’s confidant Ramhari Rupanwar, who hails from politically influential Dhangaar community.
Usna Bano Khalife, known to be an acolyte of Industries Minister Narayan Rane, has been included, in what was being seen as a move to pacify Rane who had opened a front against the CM following the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha poll.
The fourth member shortlisted for the nomination is Mumbai Congress chief Janardan Chandurkar, a Dalit face.
Abdul Sattar, a legislator owing allegiance to Ashok Chavan, was inducted in the cabinet earlier this week. Sources said Chavan is pushing for council membership for another supporter who hails from the minority community. Thakre is believed to be lobbying for party spokesperson Sachin Sawant, besides another aide Ganesh Patil.
Ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has exhausted its quota of six nominations. Former Shiv Sena spokesperson Rahul Narvekar, who switched over to NCP before the Lok Sabha polls, has been nominated to the council, along with former Republican Party of India leader Prakash Gajbhiye.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Vidya Chavan has been renominated. The party has nominated Khawaja Baig, Ramrao Walpute, and Jagannath Shinde.
Chavan gives up transport ministry
Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday gave up his transport portfolio in a bid to accommodate new ministers inducted in his council of ministers. The portfolio has now been assigned to Madhukar Chavan, whose previous portfolio of animal husbandry, fisheries, and dairy has been newly assigned to Abdul Sattar. Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit, who was also newly inducted, would be the state minister for excise, food and drug administration, and unconventional energy.