Manikrao Thakre named Maharashtra Congress chief (Lead)

August 17th, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) Manikrao Thakre, a former state Youth Congress president, was Sunday appointed the chief of the Maharashtra unit of the Congress party while former minister Kripa Shankar Singh was named the party’s Mumbai unit chief. The All India Congress Committee also appointed MP and former Mumbai Congress president Gurudas Kamat as the party’s state election campaign committee chief, an AICC spokesperson said.

While the appointments of Thakre, until now the party’s Yavatmal district unit chief, and Kripa Shankar Singh were widely anticipated, the crucial post of the campaign committee chief went to Kamat after Revenue Minister Narayan Rane reportedly refused to take up the assignment.

A veteran in the Maharashtra Congress, Thakre, hailing from Vidarbha’s Yavatmal district, has held important portfolios in the state cabinet headed by Sharad Pawar, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde besides doing a successful stint as the party’s Maharashtra youth wing president.

Both Thakre and Singh are considered to be close to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who has been at the receiving end of a vicious campaign by Rane.

Rane, a Shiv Sena rebel who joined the Congress three years ago, had the support of former state unit chief Prabha Rau and AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Margaret Alva in his campaign against the chief minister, according to party sources.

Rau was appointed Himachal Pradesh governor last month.

Kamat, who quit the post of the party’s Mumbai unit chief earlier this year on completion of his five-year term, has been credited with the victory of five out of six Congress candidates from the metropolis in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

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