February 5, 2021 1:32:47 am
With the Shiv Sena dropping clear hints that it was not in favour of allocating a second deputy chief minister’s post to the Congress in return of the Assembly Speaker’s post, the focus has now shifted on who will be the next Speaker from the Congress.
According to sources, Sangram Thopte, three-time MLA from Bhor constituency in Pune district, is the top contender to wrest the post. Son of former minister (late) Anantrao Thopte, Sangram, who hails from the Maratha community, is an established cooperative baron.
While Thopte’s constituency is part of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, he has successfully thwarted attempts by both the NCP and the BJP to dent his traditional stronghold.
On Thursday, Thopte was camping in Delhi to lobby for his selection.
Names of five-term MLA Suresh Warpudkar, who represents the Pathri assembly segment in the Parbhani district, and that of three-time MLA Amin Patel, who represents Mumbai’s Mumbadevi assembly segment, are also in contention. Warpudkar also hails from the Maratha community. He has also represented the NCP in the past.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, also in the race, appears to have had a fall out with the Rahul Gandhi camp in the Congress.
Chavan was among the 23 senior party leaders who had written the letter demanding elections for an organisational rejig.
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