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Chavan meets Sonia, unlikely to step down as Maharashtra CM

Jun 21, 2014 09:07 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: Amid speculation of a possible change of guard in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday. However, according to sources, Chavan is unlikely to step down from his post.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister is expected to brief a panel led by senior Congress leader AK Antony on June 28. According to sources, Chavan has complained to Sonia Gandhi about reports that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is being asked to lead the party's campaign in Maharashtra.

The Congress high command, meanwhile, remains undecided on replacing Chavan as the CM. Sources say that a final decision will be taken after Antony meets Congress MLAs from the state on June 28.

Seeking clarity from the party high command, Chavan during his meeting with Sonia Gandhi, said that the atmosphere of uncertainty is not good for Maharashtra.

After the Congress's massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, there are demands from within party to remove Chavan from the top post. The NCP is said to be keen on naming former Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as the Chief Minister of the state.

Shinde is the party's dalit face in Maharashtra but the only issue that is likely to go against him is that he lost the recent Lok Sabha election. The names of state Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and state Revenue Minister Bala Saheb Thorat are also doing the rounds as successor to Chavan.

Meanwhile, Chavan on Friday had said that he was not aware of any such move. "I have not been sounded out on this or called to Delhi in this connection," he said adding it is the Congress high command's prerogative to change Chief Ministers and he is ready to shoulder any responsibility given by the party. "Until a decision is made, I will continue with my work," Chavan had said.

During the recent general elections, NCP won four and Congress two of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the worst showing by the two alliance partners.