Ashok Chavan's back as Maha CM

Ashok Chavan, who was retained as Maharashtra CM for a second stint, said he would also strive to implement the Congress manifesto in letter and spirit. “The manifesto will not be just another document. We assure the people of Maharashtra that we are serious about our commitment and will deliver the results,’’ he said. In the CLP meeting, while the overwhelming majority of party MLAs wanted the matter to be left to the leadership, Rane and a few others recorded their preference for one aspirant or the other. Later, the CLP, in keeping with the custom, authorised Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to decide the leadership issue. Sonia's decision is being viewed as a setback for both Rane and Deshmukh, who had reportedly been lobbying for the coveted post since the declaration of assembly results on Thursday. The decision on chief minstership will pave the way for discussions with the NCP amid a demand within the Congress to reopen the terms of engagement as the party views it as heavily tilted in its favour. Sources said the Congress was keen on redistribution of portfolios between the two allies, with the home ministry leading the pack. It has been felt that the chief minister should retain the home ministry in view of the new security scenario in the state. A section in the party also feels that the absence of the home ministry from the CM’s jurisdiction dwarfs his stature. What went in Chavan’s favour is the Congress’s electoral performance since he took over the hot seat from Deshmukh following 26/11. The party managed to win a handsome tally in the Lok Sabha polls and increased its strength in the assembly too to return to power. The results have also widened the gulf between the Congress and the NCP in the former’s favour.

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