Mumbai :  The NCP state unit might get a new chief by next week. The party is undergoing the process of internal elections and the process might culminate in having a new state unit chief, party sources have said.

According to the party sources names of former speaker of the legislative assembly Dilip Valse-Patil, former minister Shashikant Shinde and former minister Rajesh Tope are being discussed to be next party chief in the state.

The party is currently undergoing three representatives each from the 288 assembly constituencies of the state. The process is expected to be completed by the weekend and all these representatives are expected to meet next Wednesday (April 29). The new state unit chief too is expected to be elected in the same meeting.

The state party leaders are expected to meet on Sunday (April 26). There are expected to discuss the name of the new state unit chief at this meeting also.

According the party insiders, Valse-Patil’s name is the most favourite amongst party leaders considering his closeness to the Pawar family. He is also known as a good organiser. But, according to another stream of opinion, he might not be comfortable mingling amongst the people considering his seniority in the politics.

This has led to the discussion of the other name and Shinde’s name came forward. He is from the NCP stronghold Western Maharashtra and is known as an aggressive leader. He is also considered close to Ajit Pawar.

Some of the leaders, however, want Rajesh Tope to be the top leader. They argue that it would be politically wise to have a party chief from Marathwada when two of the prominent parties, the BJP and the Congress have state unit chiefs from the region.

The current state unit chief Sunil Tatkare is learnt to have lost Ajit Pawar’s confidence after during one of his routine press conferences. He failed to defend the party over the alleged irrigation scam and his answers implied that Pawar was heading the department for most of the time when scams happened.

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