Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Balasaheb Thorat, who is also the state revenue minister and the leader of the Legislative Party, on Monday reiterated to step down to pave way for the appointment of his successor.
Thorat, who was in Delhi on Monday, met senior party leaders in the absence of interim president Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi and reminded them of his request to relieve him of the charges three months ago. His argument was the party should take a decision soon to avoid media running stories about his removal.
Thorat declined to divulge details on his Delhi visit. However, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) sources clarified that Thorat has not yet resigned as the state party president as reported by a section of media. Sources said even though Thorat resigns as MPCC president, he will continue to be the leader of the Legislative Party and the revenue minister in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Assembly Speaker Nana Patole, minister for Woman and Child Welfare Yashomati Thakur, Energy Minister Nitin Raut, Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh and former MP Rajani Patil are the frontrunners for the MPCC president post once Thorat steps down. Patole, Thakur and Raut hail from the Vidarbha region while Deshmukh and Patil are from Marathwada.
Patole is an OBC while Raut is from the Scheduled Caste. Thakur is Maratha Deshmukh while Amit Deshmukh, who is son of the former CM and veteran Congress leader late Vilasrao Deshmukh, and Rajani Patil are from the politically influential Maratha community.
Congress in-charge HK Patil is expected to be in Mumbai either on Tuesday or Wednesday to assess the mood among the legislators, MPs and office bearers.