Ashok Chavan to be new Maharashtra Chief Minister, Rane rebels

December 5th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi/Mumbai, Dec.5 (ANI): The Congress party today announced that Maharashtra Industries Minister Ashok Chavan will be the next chief minister of the state, even as signs of an open rebellion surfaced from the Narayan Rane camp.
Formally announcing the decision in New Delhi, senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee said that he and A.K. Antony, the General Secretary in charge of Maharashtra had gone to Mumbai to attend a meeting of the Maharashtra unit of the Congress as observers.
In their report submitted to party president Sonia Gandhi, they said that 97 lawmakers of the state, who attended the meeting, had left the final decision to nominate the head of the Congress Legislature Party in Maharashtra to Gandhi. They said that Gandhi, in turn, decided in Chavans favour, rather than in Ranes who was the other serious contender for the post.
Mukherjee told media persons outside Gandhis 10, Janpath residence, that Chavan would replace Vilasrao Deshmukh who had to resign following last weeks terror attacks in Mumbai that claimed nearly 200 lives and caused injuries to nearly 300.
Immediately after Mukherjee announced his name, Ashok Chavan, an MLA from Nanded and son of former Union Minister S B Chavan, thanked the Congress leadership, but requested party workers in Mumbai not to celebrate, as there was work to do in the state.
We are awaiting a formal announcement at the Congress Legislature Party, he said.
On being asked for his reaction to Ranes protest, Chavan refused to comment, saying his priority was putting things in the state in place.
I have to bring back the confidence of people. I am the son of a former minister, and that cannot be my disqualification, he said.
Chavan was elected a Member of the Parliament for the first time in 1987.
Rane, however, slammed the Congress party for delaying its decision in choosing Vilasrao Deshmukh’’s successor.
Rane said: “While the state faces such a tough situation, there is still no leader. I have not understood the reasons behind it, despite observers from Delhi coming here.”
“Vilasrao Deshmukh’’s behaviour was shameful. He is a blot on the position of CM and has the blood of all dead and injured on his hands,” he added.
He also said that Chavan did not have the experience to be the chief minister of a state.
Saying that he is out of the race as some Delhi and state leaders had conspired against him, Rane added “Deshmukh and (Congress party president) Manekrao Thakre conspired against me along with one leader from Delhi.”
Rane also said that he did not want any position from the Congress. (ANI)

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