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Maharashtra CM Deshmukh asked to step down
Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi | January 14, 2003 06:19 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday finally decided to replace Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Sonia asked Deshmukh to step down at a meeting at her 10 Janpath residence, a Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee source told rediff.com.
Deshmukh is likely to return to Mumbai and put in his papers on Tuesday, the source said.
Deshmukh's replacement is likely to be decided later on Monday night.
Officially, however, the Congress insisted that Deshmukh had not been asked to quit as yet.
Ambika Soni, political secretary to Sonia, said a team of three observers headed by party general secretary Vayalar Ravi, who is in charge of Maharashtra, would be visiting the state on Wednesday to meet Congress legislators and assess their mood.
Only after the observers submit their report will any decision be made, she told reporters in New Delhi.
Soni, however, was not present at the meeting between Sonia and Deshmukh. Only Ravi was in attendance.
The names of the other two observers have not been decided yet.Deshmukh slipped out of the rear exit of Sonia's sprawling bungalow after the meeting.