In a startling repeat of the manoeuvres made by Bharatiya Janata Party members of Legislative Assembly in Karnataka to unseat the government of former Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda, over 40 Maharashtra Congress legislators raised a similar demand against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday, saying he needed to go if he couldn't alter his way of functioning.
The MLAs, reportedly miffed with Chavan's style of functioning, wrote to state party president Manickrao Thackeray, saying the Chavan was virtually unapproachable.
The letter dated July 19, according to party sources, has also been marked to AICC in-charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash, according to an MLA who did not want to be named.
Incidentally, the letter was issued the day Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar skipped the meeting of the Union Cabinet, triggering the ongoing stand-off with Congress and creating a crisis of sorts for the ruling UPA.
Chavan has often been slammed by NCP, besides a section in his own party, for "tardy" decision-making.
Thakre, however, downplayed the issue which was being dubbed as a rebellion against the Chief Minister.
"No MLA has complained to me about the functioning of the Chief Minister. Let it be clear, nobody is against the Chief Minister."
"The letter I have got pertains to problems the MLAs are facing in their constituencies. I have spoken to the CM about it and their work will be done," Thakre told reporters.
He also rubbished reports that as many as 62 of the 82 Congress MLAs have accused Chavan of being indecisive and ignoring party interests.
Vijay Wadettiwar, party MLA from Chemur in Vidharbha, while admitting that the MLAs had highlighted "several issues" faced by them in their constituencies, said they had never sought removal of Chavan as Chief Minister.
"There is immense angst among people as their problems have not yet been resolved. When legislators are visiting their constituencies, they have to face wrath of the people," the MLAs mostly belonging to Vidarbha and Marathwada regions said in the letter.
They requested Thakre to discuss the issue with party leaders and convene a meeting with Chavan soon and invite them for the meeting.
The legislators have also demanded strengthening of statutory development boards, boosting irrigation projects in the two regions, paying attention to farmers' demands like food processing units and issues pertaining to minorities.
NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, whose party has opened a front against Congress in Maharashtra by flagging the issue of "poor coordination", parried questions by media on this development.
Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, to whom some of the MLAs who have written to Thakre owe allegiance, also chose to remain silent and did not answer reporters' queries.
Several supporters of Ashok Chavan had walked out of a meeting of the Congress legislature party on July 9 protesting state government and party leadership's "failure to counter false propaganda" against the former chief minister in the Adarsh scam.
Chavan's supporters, according to those present in the meeting, pointed out to the party brass as to how NCP had stood firmly behind its minister Sunil Tatkare despite allegations of amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Inputs from ANI