The central leadership of the Congress appears to be in a catch 22 situation unable to take a final decision on appointing a new Maharashtra Congress president. In the last one month there have been two meetings between the AICC and state Congress leaders. But they have not been able to take a formal decision thus leaving the organisation headless.
Last week several MLAs, office bearers complained to the AICC leaders about the delayed decision making and failure to outline the roadmap that would help them keep engaged in the organisational work. The Congress has 42 MLAs in the assembly out of the total 288 MLAs.
The front runner for the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president is former chief minister Ashok Chavan. However, the central leadership is worried about the ramifications of making him MPCC chief in wake of controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing case. The other names that have emerged namely former senior ministers Narayan Rane and Balasaheb Thorat are also being discussed. However, a final decision is being left to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
Although former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan still enjoys the reputation of “Mr Clean”, elected MLAs are not very enthused to have him head the state Congress. Although, central leaders are likely to accord him important work in the party. Prithviraj Chavan himself has made it clear that he would continue to work in Maharashtra. And spend more time in developing his constituency Karad South.
A senior AICC functionary told Indian Express, “The former chief minister Ashok Chavan (MP) in Lok Sabha enjoys a good rapport with the elected MLAs in Maharashtra. And his name would have almost been a certainty. But we are still wondering how it would work in backdrop of Adarsh case.”
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis maintained, “The BJP government will not indulge in politics of vendetta. But if there are irregularities that are established in Adarsh Cases the government will not hesitate to take action. The decision of the government would be on merit and not driven by party prejudices.”
The Adarsh matter is pending both before the courts and also CBI. Thus, Congress is worried if they pronounce Ashok Chavan’s name for MPCC president and if adverse orders are passed, it would dent the image of the party in public.
After the assembly election results on October 19, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thackre submitted his resignation. The AICC general secretary incharge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash along with central leaders held discussions with individual party leaders and elected members. Sensing the generational shift within the BJP which is determined to promote youngsters in organisation and government, Congress also is weighing all the pros and cons.
According to MPCC general secretary, “The challenges before the state Congress have multiplied. We have to face ruling BJP on one hand and also NCP on the other. So, Congress will have to make its own mark in the next five years.”
According to Thakre, “The defeat always brings with it huge degree of demoralisation within the workers but we are determined to consolidate the organisation ahead.” He asserts, “After the assembly elections defeat I submitted my resignation owning moral responsibility. But I have always maintained that Congress will play the role of main opposition party both inside and outside the assembly.” Unlike others (NCP) we are not hobnobbing with BJP, he added.