Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole on Thursday met the party's national president Sonia Gandhi with complaints against some leaders, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, for being absent during the floor test sought by BJP-backed Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and cross-voting during the Legislative Council elections. As many as 11 Congress MLAs skipped the floor test on July 4, in which Shinde received the support of 164 legislators, while the ousted Maha Vikas Aghadi, of which Congress was also a part, got 99 votes.
According to sources, Patole also briefed Gandhi about the cross-voting by seven Congress MLAs during the June 20 Legislative Council elections where the party's official candidate Chandrakant Handore, a prominent Dalit leader, had to face an embarrassing defeat. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal were also present at Sonia Gandhi’s residence when Patole met her.
Congress sources said though the party was not mulling immediate action against the errant legislators, they may be kept away from key party assignments in the future. With no word of action against cross-voters from the party leadership, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday termed Handore's defeat as shocking which could sent a wrong message to the Dalit community.
Interestingly, AICC in charge of Maharashtra H K Patil and Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat were not present at the meeting convened by Gandhi. The Congress leadership is also upset at Maharashtra leaders for not following directives to oppose the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar during the last Cabinet meeting chaired by the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.