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Deshmukh camp gets aggressive,targets leadership

With Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre firmly in the saddle and growing in stature after the party’s success in last year’s polls...

With Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre firmly in the saddle and growing in stature after the party’s success in last year’s polls,the Vilasrao Deshmukh camp is apparently becoming aggressive.

This was evident at a meeting of district presidents and office-bearers called by the MPCC on Saturday to discuss organisational elections,where the Deshmukh camp slammed the leadership for not taking action against party rebels. Sources said that Deshmukh supporters blamed the state leadership for shielding some senior Congress leaders who had defeated the official nominees in the Zilla Parishad (ZP) president elections in Latur and Ahmednagar.

“There seems to be no discipline in the party. The party leadership has failed to take action against leaders who have ensured the defeat of official candidates in the ZP president elections in Latur and Ahmednagar,” MLC Ulhas Pawar,an associate of Deshmukh,said at the meeting,with many in the audience echoing his sentiment,according to sources.

“In Latur and Ahmednagar,leaders defeated our official candidates with the help of the BJP¿” he said. However,he was interrupted by Thakre,who concluded the meeting by asking working president Jaywantrao Awale to propose the vote of thanks.

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Thakre said later that the meeting was called to discuss organisational elections and the issue raised by Pawar could be discussed in a separate meeting in future.

In Latur,with the support of Deshmukh detractor and former chief minister Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar,a rebel candidate had became the ZP president defeating a Deshmukh supporter. In Ahmednagar,transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s wife,Shalini,rebelled and got elected as ZP president,defeating official nominee Satyajit Tambe,who is nephew of agriculture minister and another Deshmukh supporter,Balasaheb Thorat.

MLC Pawar and some other district presidents have also urged the party to take into confidence the defeated candidates and people from different camps within the party while scrutinising candidates for the party’s organisational polls.

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Many of them expressed concern over the present leaders at the state and district levels and charged them with promoting members of their own group.

Former minister from Jammu and Kashmir Gulchain Singh Charak,who is the chairperson of the state election authority of the party to supervise organisational elections,tried to pacify the agitated partymen saying that the party would ensure that all sections are taken into confidence. He also assured that their complaints would be looked into.

Charak said the party’s interests were supreme and asked leaders to refrain from thinking they were bigger than the party simply because they were ministers or seniors. The aggression from the Deshmukh camp is considered in party circles as a manifestation of frustration due to the rising importance of Chavan and Thakre in the party. “The party’s strength has increased after the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections held under the leadership of Chavan and Thakre,” a senior Congress leader said. “They worked in unison,unlike Deshmukh and the then MPCC chief Prabha Rao,who were always at loggerheads… the Deshmukh camp is frustrated as it is losing importance and also because of the fact that Thakre was a Deshmukh supporter till he was made the party state chief.”

First published on: 17-01-2010 at 03:26:22 am
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