Hectic lobbying has begun in the Maharashtra Congress to succeed Ashok Chavan as the next chief minister of the state,hours after the latter offered to quit over his alleged role in the Adarsh housing society scandal.
Though Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to take a decision on his offer only after Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony submit their report about the incident,Congressmen in the state seemed to think that Chavans fate had been sealed and names of former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh,Sushilkumar Shinde and Narayan Rane were making the rounds as his possible successor.
Some Congress leaders,however,said since Chavan had decided to stay back in Delhi for another day,he would definitely lobby hard to retain his chair or at least ensure that one of his trusted aides within the party is given power. Sources said in his defence,Chavan had also presented to the high command a list of other members of Adarsh who had used recommendation letters from other Congress leaders to get apartments allotted in the building.
However,that did not stop aspirants to the job and their supporters from building support in the run-up to Sonias decision. Chavans offer to quit has also come at a wrong time for the party,a day ahead of the prestigious Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation election on Sunday.
Congress leaders were hoping to scrape through to a victory by gaining once again from a bitter confrontation between Uddhav and Raj Thackeray,but they feel now that the latest crisis in the party may not help its image.
Meanwhile,Congress spokesperson and Adarsh housing society member Kanhaiyalal Gidwani reaffirmed that the plot is on government land and that he would give up his three flats only if the charges were proven to be true. As far as we are concerned,the land is government land. We had made an application and on the basis of which 60 per cent space was to be kept for defence personnel,which included Kargil widows and jawans. We have filled up almost 50 per cent of that; we received three applications from Kargil-related personnel that were accepted.
Gidwani said the society had not yet received any copy of the cancellation of occupation certificates. The OC was issued by the government on September 16. We have not yet received any copy canceling them. Once we get it,we will see what is to be done about it.