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Maharashtra CM's chair: The contenders

Last updated on: November 10, 2010 08:25 IST

Maharashtra CM's chair: The contenders

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N Ganesh in Mumbai

The Adarsh Housing Society scam has not just claimed a chief minister but has also nixed the chances of other hopefuls for the most important position in the state.

Rediff.com highlights the few potential candidates who are left in the race for the CM's post.

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Prithviraj Chavan

Currently Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha and minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office, Chavan has his base at Karad in Western Maharashtra from where he represented as an MP from 1991 to 1999. In 1999, former Congress leader Shrinavas Patil -- who had defected to the then newly formed Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar -- defeated Chavan. Since then Chavan has been elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Community card: Maratha

In his Favour:

1) He holds an unblemished political career.

2) He is one of the longest-serving ministers in the PMO.

3) Chavan is a Congress loyalist and trusted lieutenant of Dr Manmohan Singh.

4) Congress would love to place him in the state to checkmate Pawar.

5) He has the vision to carry out the development programs of the Congress in the state.

Against him:

1) Chavan himself does not want to be in the hot seat.

2) Being in the Union government, he is in the bigger gamut of things.

3) Pawar has ensured that he would never have a stronghold in Western Maharashtra. He would face stiff resistance discreetly from NCP if he occupies CM's chair and try to contest election as an MLA.

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Image: Prithviraj Chavan

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Mukul Wasnik 

Mukul Wasnik, the minister of state for social justice and empowerment, has his base in Ramtek in Vidharba from where he had won as MP.

Son of MP Balkrishna Wasnik, who is also an minister, Mukul made his career ambitions very clear when he became active in the National Students' Union of India and went on become its national president.

If chosen, he would be second Dalit CM after Shushil Kumar Shinde.

Community card: Dalit

In his Favour:

1) Has an unblemished career record.

2) He hails from Vidarbha region, which for the first time is looking forward to give the state a CM.

Against him:

Being from Vidarbha also is drawback for Wasnik, as the state political power is centered around Western Maharashtra with its cash rich sugar lobbies.


Image: Mukul Wasnik

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Balasaheb Thorat

Balasaheb Thorat holds the charge of school education minister in the state cabinet and previously held the charge of agricultural ministry.

An MLA from Sangamner in Ahmednagar district -- the heart of Western Maharashtra -- Balasaheb is son of Bhausaheb Thorat sugar co-operative stalwart.

Community card: Maratha

In his Favour:

1) Besides hailing from sugar belt, Thorat has very good equations with NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

2) If Thorat was made CM, then support of NCP is guaranteed. It will be smooth sailing for the Congress-NCP in the state thereafter.

Against him:

It is the good equations that Thorat shares with Pawar that would come in the way of his CM ambition. The Congress high command would want a CM who is loyal to the party and not to the ally's party.


Image: Balasaheb Thorat

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Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil

The state transport minister, Vikhe-Patil is an MLA from Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.

He has the political legacy of his father Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil and grandfather Vithalrao Vikhe-Patil, who was one of the pioneers of sugar co-operative movement in western Maharashtra.

Community card: Maratha

In his Favour:

Vikhe-Patil has not been embroiled in any controversy and most importantly hails from the sugar belt.

Against him:

In 1995, Vikhe-Patil had quit the Congress (then under the state leadership of Sharad Pawar) and contested the elections on Shiv Sena ticket. He had won and served as minister in the Sena-BJP government. His quitting the Congress was more to do with Pawar than central leadership.


Image: Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil

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Vilasrao Deshmukh

Vilasrao Deshmukh is one of the few politicians to share the resilient character of Mumbai.

Every time detractors write him off, he bounces back with renewed vigour. He hails from Latur in Marathwada.

Community card: Maratha

In his Favour:

1) Deshmukh has twice served as the chief minister of Maharashtra.

2) He is one of the few senior politicians of state, who is not involved in recommending names to Adarsh scam.

Against him:

The first time he had tendered his resignation it was before the assembly elections and was replaced to denote change. The second time he had to tender his resignation it was in wake of 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Although he had not recommended names the files of Adarsh had passed his tables during his stint as a CM.


Image: Vilasrao Deshmukh

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Sushil Kumar Shinde

Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde created record of sorts when he became the first Dalit person to become Maharashtra chief minister in 2000. He hails from Solapur.

Community card: Dalit

In his Favour:

1) Shinde is said to be an able administrator and humble.

2) Shares good rapport with NCP chief Pawar.

3) His reappointment as CM would appease the Dalit voters.

Against him: 

1) Shinde's name figures in the Adarsh scam for recommending allotment of houses to civilians.

2) Last time he was made CM the elections were on the horizon and the strategy had paid-off well for the Congress.


Image: Sushil Kumar Shinde

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Gurudas Kamat

Union Minister of State for IT and Communications Gurudas Kamat has been active in politics close to four decades. A protege of the National Students' Union of India, Kamat has his base in Mumbai and is a MP from Mumbai North East Constituency even though he originally hails from Karwar in Karnataka.

Community Card: None (Non-Marathi)

In his Favour:

1) He is a staunch party loyalist and had remained with the party in thick and thin.

2) Has not been embroiled in controversy and holds a clean political record.

Against him: 

Though born and brought up in Mumbai, he hails from Karwar in Karnataka. If made the CM, he would be the first non-Marathi person to be occupy the CM's post in the state.


Image: Gurudas Kamat

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