Mumbai, June 20, 2014: Prithviraj Chavan may be replaced as Maharashtra Chief Minister by the Congress leadership and former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde may take his place, as per sources on Thursday.
The pressure to replace Chavan has been mounting from party MLAs after the debacle that the Congress faced in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, as per reports doing the rounds for a while now. They supposedly feel that if he is not replaced now then the Congress will be completely wiped out in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
The Congress high command is also said to be not too happy with Chavan’s style of working.
Shinde, 72, who is Congress’ Dalit face, has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner. He is also said to have a positive image among the rural folks and has been a Gandhi family loyalist for last several years.
Sources also said that though he may be reluctant to take any active political post after the defeat in Parliamentary elections, Shinde may say yes if Congress president Sonia Gandhi asks him to do so in the larger interest of the party.
Shinde lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Solapur to BJP candidate Sharad Bansode by margin of 1.5 lakh votes.
Moreover, Congress’ ally in the state, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is said to be keen on naming Shinde as the CM. It was believed that the NCP did not have good working relations with Chavan.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leaders AK Antony and Ahmad Patel met in the national capital.
Earlier, the names of Congress MLAs Balasaheb Thorat, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Harshavardhan Patil were also doing the rounds.
The Congress won only two seats out of the total 48 in Maharashtra in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the results for which was declared on May 16. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance bagged 41 seats, while the NCP won only 4 seats.
At the national level, the BJP won 282 seats on its own and 335 along with its allies while the Congress ended up with only 44 seats.
The Assembly elections in Maharashtra are due at the end of the year.