Maratha or OBC: Congress to choose Maharashtra President

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) The Congress is trying to zero in on a probable replacement for Balasaheb Thorat to lead the party in Maharashtra.

The party is taking feedback from important leaders through a recorded message by party in- charge of the state HK Patil. He has adopted the same method to appoint the Mumbai President.

Maharashtra Congress President Balasaheb Thorat is also a minister in the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray in which the Congress is a partner.

Thorat has said, “I have told the party that if someone is there to replace me I am ready to resign the post as I have been holding many posts.”

Sources say that Congress leader Nana Patole, who is the Maharashtra 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.

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 and 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.

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