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Kharge meets partymen to decide on CLP leader for Maha assembly

The meeting was conducted by Maharashtra-in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge, but there was no consensus candidate.

, ET Bureau|
May 21, 2019, 07.59 AM IST
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“We need someone who could take the party along and not just appoint someone because he or she is from a particular community."
Mumbai: The Congress on Monday met to decide on the Congress Legislative Party leader for the Maharashtra assembly, an exercise necessitated after CLP leader Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil resigned as his son Sujay contested for the BJP in the parliamentary elections. Vikhe Patil was also the Opposition leader by virtue of the Congress being the biggest Opposition party in the state.

The meeting was conducted by Maharashtra-in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge, but there was no consensus candidate. The names discussed were Balasaheb Thorat, a rival of Vikhe Patil, and Vijay Wadettiwar, a Congress leader from Nagpur who is reportedly being backed by Ashok Chavan. Former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan’s name was also being discussed as probable leader.

However, Kharge seemed to have surprised a few by suggesting the name of a Dalit leader as the prospective CLP leader. According to a Congress leader, Kharge said that since the Maharashtra state president is a Maratha (Ashok Chavan), the party should balance it by having the CLP leader from the Dalit community – thus, the name of Varsha Gaikwad, daughter of former Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad, came up. But not everyone agreed with the proposal.

“We need someone who could take the party along and not just appoint someone because he or she is from a particular community. Our assessment is that Wadett iwar may not be selected because he is not originally from the Congress,” said a Congress leader.
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