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Is Maharashtra CM on his way out?
April 08, 2008 18:17 IST
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's performance is being reviewed by the Congress leadership. But the party is trying to downplay the move as a 'periodical in-house exercise.'
The party high command has set up a high profile three-member panel of Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony, and political adviser to Congress president Ahmed Patel to review the performance of Deshmukh, who has been at the receiving end from his detractors.
Speculation is rife for the past some months that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is keen to replace him.
"There is no need to read anything into what is an in-house exercise," Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari told reporters in New Delhi.
The three-member panel is expected to begin its work after the end of the ongoing Budget Session of the Maharashtra Assembly.
"The Congress periodically conducts in-house exercises whereby we review the functioning of the party's state units and state governments," Tiwari said.
"At times, this exercise is done at the level of general secretary in-charge of the state and sometimes other members of the Congress Working Committee are involved in it," he said.
Some state Congress leaders, including state Congress unit chief Prabha Rau and Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, have been at loggerheads with Deshmukh.
Amidst speculation over the leadership issue, Gandhi had stated on Sunday that Deshmukh's position was 'very stable'.