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CONGRESS LEADER NARAYAN RANE AND NCP LEADER R R PATIL FIGHT IT OUT TO REGAIN LOST GLORY

congress-leader-5Congress leader Narayan Rane is determined to get back the revenue ministry. Party colleague Patangrao Kadam will fight him tooth-and-nail to retain the post. Former deputy chief minister RR Patil of the NCP will like to be back at the No.2 spot in the state cabinet. But Chhagan Bhujbal is in no mood to relinquish the post. With just two days to go before the results of the state assembly elections start pouring in, and with exit polls predicting a third term for the Democratic Front government, the Congress-NCP leaders have begun jostling for top cabinet berths. Kadam is trying hard to retain the important revenue ministry. Rane, too, is leaving no stones unturned to wrest it back. Rane was made the revenue minister after he left the Shiv Sena to join the Congress in mid-2005. Late last year, he revolted against the party, and was suspended. He apologised, was forgiven. Kadam, by then, had been elevated from the cooperation ministry to revenue. So, Rane had to settle for the industries portfolio. Two politicians with lots at stake are state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and city party chief Kripashankar Singh. Thakre has started highlighting the gains made by the party ever since he took over its reins. He is citing the Congress’ success in the parliamentary polls as proof, a source said. Singh, too, is blowing his trumpet, taking credit for winning over the North Indian voters in the city. The power struggle is evident within the NCP too. Political managers of the party admit it will be a tough task for Sharad Pawar to choose from Bhujbal, Jayant Patil, and RR Patil as the deputy CM post. Another big aspirant is the party chief’s nephew, Ajit Pawar, who is unlikely to make any ‘sacrifice’ this time. RR Patil, in fact, has said that the NCP is eyeing the chief minster’s post too, much to the chagrin of the Congress leadership. However, if the Congress emerges as the single largest party, it would not entertain any such idea.

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