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|October 12, 1999||
Vidarbha resents Vilasrao's elevation
Resentment is brewing in the Congress over the appointment of former state minister Vilasrao Deshmukh as the Congress Legislature Party leader. A group of legislators from the Vidarbha region are now promoting former Maharashtra Congress unit chief Ranjit Deshmukh for the post.
About 30 Congress legislators met at the Radio Club late last night upon the invitation of former minister and Karanja MLA Babasaheb Dhabekar.
The legislators were sore with the candidature of Vilasrao Deshmukh. They described his nomination as 'undemocratic'.
Talking to UNI, Ranjit Deshmukh said the party leadership has neglected the loyalty of persons belonging to Vidarbha in selecting the CLP leader.
Asked whether the group would join the Shiv Sena if their demand is not met, he said there is no such move as yet. ''We are with the Congress and will remain with it.''
As there was no response from Delhi, he would meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi to express the resentment of the Vidarbha loyalists.
Asked about talks of a possible alliance between the Congress and National Congress Party, he said he is for such an alliance. However, the party, which has the largest number of legislators, has the right for the chief ministership.
Another legislator present at the meeting said that since the largest chunk of Congress legislators were from Vidarbha, the state leadership should go to one of them. ''The decision has been imposed on us,'' he said.
The 27 Vidarbha legislators submitted a letter protesting against Vilasrao's appointment to Congress general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Madhavrao Scindia during his recent visit to Bombay. Vilasrao was not available for comment as he had already left for New Delhi.
Among the Vidarbha legislators supporting the candidature of Ranjit Deshmukh are Manikrao Thackre, Anil Patel, Ajhar Hussain, Sudha Deshmukh and Nitin Raut.
Meanwhile, talks between the Congress and the NCP over a possible tie-up in Maharashtra remained deadlocked over the issue of chief ministership.
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