New Delhi: The Congress in Maharashtra is trying to zero in on a probable replacement for Balasaheb Thorat to lead the party. Adopting the same method to appoint party's Mumbai President, the party is taking feedback from important leaders through a recorded message by party in- charge of the state HK Patil.
Currently, Balasaheb Thorat is holding the post of state party president. He is also serving as a minister in the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray in which the Congress is a partner.
According to a New Indian Express report, party-interim chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have expressed their displeasure over the mild stand and limited growth of the party in Maharashtra despite being in power. The grand old party is nervous about the "expansion plan" of its alliance partner NCP in Maharashtra.
This has lead the party to think about replacing the incumbent Maharashtra Congress president with someone who is more aggressive and takes on Opposition and alliance partners as well.
Meanwhile in IANS report Thorat is quoted to have told that if someone is there to replace him he is ready to resign the post as he has been holding many posts
According to sources Congress leader Nana Patole, who is currently Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker, is the front runner followed by Vijay Wadettiwar, Amit Deshmukh and Rajiv Satav.
Both Nana Patole and Rajiv Satav are OBC and close to Rahul Gandhi. Satav is state in-charge of Gujarat and Patole is Speaker of the asembly and if the Congress appoints Nana Patole as President then it has to name a new person for the post. In this scenario the race will again heat up in the state.
Another name is Vijay Namdevrao Wadettiwar who is a minister in the government and represents Chimur constituency. He is also an OBC leader.
Amit Deshmukh, a Maratha and son of former Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh, is also a minister in the MVA government. The Congress has to decide which way to go as till recently Ashok Chavan and Thorat were Presidents from the Maratha community.
Reports suggests that the Congress may opt for a non-Maratha as earlier the party had to check the influence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, but now the BJP is the main opponent. Political analysts views that an OBC face may re-establish the Congress in the state which it had ruled for decades.
After the demise of Gopinath Munde, the BJP doesn't have another tall leader like him and after Eknath Khadse joined the NCP the Congress has a chance to pitch in, in the territory.
While Satav has the advantage of closeness with Rahul Gandhi, he has the support of Ashok Chavan also. Patole is also close to Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile On Thursday, AICC Maharashtra in charge, H K Patil, abruptly curtailed his visit to Mumbai, rushing back to Delhi.
Patil, who was scheduled to meet senior state leaders and some MLAs and MLCs on the third day of his trip, was instructed to cut short his visit by the party high command, reports Indian Express
(With inputs from agencies)