Maharashtra: Nanded bypoll to determine Ashok Chavan’s future

Mumbai: Surrounded by the party’s internal opponents, Ashok Chavan, state president of Congress has the only opportunity to prove his leadership through Nanded Municipal Corporation poll.

Non-Marartha leaders within the party are upset with Chavan’s caste politics and had brought it to the attention of Rahul Gandhi, vice president of the party. If Congress loses Nanded civic poll, Chavan is likely to be replaced by a leader from Dalit or from Other Backward Class community. Recently, a meeting was held at Nagpur which was attended by former minister Dr Nitin Raut, Shivajirao Moghe, Vasant Purke among many others who are all non-Maratha.

Dr Raut who is upset with the functioning of Ashok Chavan said, “For Chavan, it was possible to invite leaders from Dalit and OBC for the rally of Rahul Gandhi at Nanded and Parbhani. Instead, he called only Maratha leaders including Bhai Jagtap, Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Dhiraj Vilasrao Deshmukh and others.” This shows how Chavan plays only Maratha card and ignores non-Maratha and Dalit leaders, Raut blamed. Raut, who is said to be from the Rahul Gandhi’s camp, reminded them that Dalit and OBC remained assured vote bank of Congress.

Raut said that he has informed Rahul Gandhi about Chavan’s caste politics and its impact on state politics. “If we have to face Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 assembly poll, there is need to change the face of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. Despite the Modi wave in the 2014 assembly polls, Congress won 10 seats in Vidarbha region due to support of Dalit and OBC voters. Congress cannot depend upon Marathas solely,” said Raut.

Rahul Gandhi is expected to become president of the party on 100th centenary birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi on November 19. After this change, state president is expected to change in Maharashtra also.  However, sources from Delhi claimed that Mumbai president Sanjay Nirupam has been asked to resign. “New president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) will be appointed very soon. But, Ashok Chavan many not be changed,” the source claimed.

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