Free Press Journal

Can the Nanded satrap help revive Maharashtra Congress?


Although Chavan made grand show of strength in Nanded, party workers are doubtful

Mumbai: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president and Lok Sabha MP Ashok Chavan was successful in making a grand show of strength in Nanded on Thursday on the occasion of inauguration of the Shankarrao Chavan memorial. But, the party workers are sceptical whether that would help the revival of state Congress.

Shankarrao Chavan served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra for two terms before serving as Home Minister in the Cabinet of Rajiv Gandhi, and as Finance Minister in P V Narasimha Rao’s Cabinet. His son Ashok Chavan was able to bring all former Congress chief ministers and union ministers from the state on one dais along with party president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. This itself re-asserts his position in the party, a senior party leader from Mumbai said.

Chavan is powerful in Nanded. He not just survived the Modi wave but, also facilitated Rajiv Satav’s win in 2014 parliamentary election. It is obvious that he would show off his strength on a grand scale when the AICC president is attending the programme, another Congress leader and a former minster said.

During the course of the programme Ashok Chavan was introduced as the only Chief Minister under whom the Congress returned maximum number of MPs in Lok Sabha. This was clearly aimed at blowing his trumpet in front of the party president, remarked a senior party functionary.

Ashok Chavan, who had to resign as chief minister after his name figured in the Adarsh Society scam, received two major blows in the case. In February this year Governor gave the CBI a nod to prosecute him in the Adarsh case and in April came the demolition of Adarsh building, and the case against Chavan is pending before the Supreme Court.

In addition to the legal tangles, for past few months, there had been speculations that the party high command is in mood of changing the state unit leadership. Several names of influential leaders from across the state too were in circulation in this regard. Hence, it was obvious that Chavan would try to project himself in the eyes of party high-command as the leader who has a mass following as well as considerable clout over the other party leaders in the state. But, would that help the party’s revival in the state, another party leader asked.

Though the party has been saying that it has bagged largest number of seats in recent local body elections, its position in the local bodies and Zilla Parishads, where elections are due later this year, is not too good party workers complain. That is the immediate challenge the party will have to face, where the show of strength on Friday is not likely to have much impact.