vilasrao-deshmukhAshok Chavan, the newly-appointed Chief Minister of Maharashtra has flexed his muscles and claimed his share of the credit for the Congress’s success in the assembly elections. A watchful Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), meanwhile, started preparing the ground to hold its own in the cabinet by mobilizing support for strongman Ajit Pawar as the Deputy Chief Minister. The NCP ministers fear that Ashok Chavan’s aggressive approach, unlike that of his predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh, will not allow them a free hand in the state. Ajit Pawar, who draws his strength from his uncle and party boss Sharad Pawar, can effectively counter Ashok Chavan and keep the NCP from becoming a secondary player in the government, it is believed. Ajit Pawar is known to be a tough administrator who can exercise authority on the bureaucracy. Being a power centre within the NCP, the Chief Minister will have to take him Ajit Pawar seriously. The NCP’s apprehension gets magnified given that Ashok Chavan is presently the blue-eyed boy of both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Ashok Chavan had replaced Vilasrao Deshmukh as the Chief Minister after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. During the two-day long parleys on the Chief Ministerial post, Ashok Chavan’s detractors had alleged that he played a limited role in Congress’s success in the assembly and the Lok Sabha polls. However, sources said that Ashok Chavan has been convincing the party’s central leadership all along that he should continue as CM since his efforts to revitalize the party in the backdrop of the terror attacks in Mumbai as well as the agrarian crisis in Vidarbha and Marathwada had favorably influenced the outcome in the general elections and assembly polls. In fact, he even said that the party’s success in the Marathwada belt during the assembly polls was because “the chief minister was contesting from there”. Ashok Chavan’s cabinet will comprise three to four generation-next ministers. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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