Prithviraj Chavan to be next Maharashtra CM
November 10, 2010
Announcing the decision Wednesday morning, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “Myself and Mr AK Antony went to Mumbai last evening where we had a meeting with the Congress Legislature Party, they unanimously requested Congress president to choose the next leader of the Congress Legislature Party.”
“We came back and reported last night to the party president and this morning she has selected Prithviraj Chavan as the next CLP leader,” Pranab said, adding that Antony would be informing the state party chief Manikrao Thakre about the decision.
He is likely to be sworn-in tomorrow, Raj Bhavan sources said today.
64-year-old Chavan had emerged as the favourite to be the next CM of the important state after he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in capital this morning.
Chavan, is known for his clean image and is said to be very close to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. He currently holds three important portfolios in the Union Cabinet: Minister of State with Independent charge of Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Earth Sciences; and the Prime Minister's Office.
He is relatively young, urbane and a known Maratha leader, who has vast political experience. However, he was always more active at the Centre rather at the state level.
Importantly, he is said to not have a good equation with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a key ally and a Maratha strongman.
Prithviraj Chavan is from Karad in Satara district in Western Maharashtra, the stronghold of Pawar.
In his first comments after becoming the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Chavan said, “It’s a great honour bestowed on me by the Congress president and the central leadership. I accept this new responsibility with all humility. I am committed to take Maharashtra to new heights.”
Clearly the task was not easy for the party High Command due to the increased expectations from the next CM given the unceremonious exit of Ashok Chavan over corruption allegations.
Party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had also indicated that Chavan's successor will have to be capable and clean.
The others in the race for the top job included: Sushil Kumar Shinde, Harsh Vardhan Patil, Mukul Wasnik, and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.