State Congress committee faces leadership crisis

Yet to find replacement for president, Assembly leader

As Maharashtra Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan has offered to resign from his post, taking responsibility of the poll debacle in the State, the party stares at a leadership crisis as no face for Mr. Chavan’s successor has emerged till now.

New vs old

According to party sources, in case Mr. Chavan resigns, the question of whether a new face should be introduced or an old guard be given the responsibility has to be tackled.

“The State Congress needs a complete rejig and it is important that newer faces are brought to the front. The Assembly polls will be held within four months and a decision needs to be taken at the earliest,” said a Congress MLA.

Mr. Chavan could not lead the party to victory in the State during the Lok Sabha polls and also lost his own seat from Nanded in Marathwada. The Congress displayed its worst-ever performance in the LS polls since independence by winning only one seat in the State.

The party circles are calling for the appointment of a fresh face to lead the party in the upcoming State polls. “We need someone who comes without any baggage and cannot be bowed down by the ruling BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] and [Shiv] Sena. Our priority has to be to boost the morale of workers and we need a fresh face to do that in Maharashtra,” said the leader.

Apart from the president of State Congress committee, the party is also yet to finalise a leader for itself in the Assembly, following the resignation of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil. His resignation also means that the State would have a new Leader of Opposition.

The LoP post

The Congress, however, will find itself cornered, in case Mr. Vikhe-Patil joins the BJP, as a number of other Congress MLAs are likely to follow him. This would reduce the party’s strength in the Assembly from existing 42. Nationalist Congress Party on the other has 41 MLAs and with the Congress’s reduced numbers, may stake claim to the LoP’s post.

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