Congress keeps Balasaheb Thorat out of loop as observer rushes to find successor

Express News Service
MUMBAI: A day after Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat called on Sonia Gandhi to complain about interference from Delhi, the central leadership has decided to convene a one-on-one meeting of MLAs with the party observer on Wednesday. Sources said that Thorat has not been kept in the loop about the meeting, which aims to draw the views of MLAs and senior leaders on the new chief for the Maharashtra unit. 

According to a highly-placed source, Congress observer for Maharashtra H K Patil would be in Mumbai on Wednesday to meet MLAs and prominent leaders and get their views on the new president for the state unit. “Thorat or his office  have not been kept in the loop. The meeting has been arranged by a third party such that Patil can get an unbiased view and report it to the Congress high command,” the source said. Patil is likely to discuss various issues with district presidents through various media options.

“We have planned a voting through the in-house Shakti App. The one getting the highest number of votes will be elected the new president, provided the high command sanctions it. First past the post is not a guarantee of leadership, as the approval has to come from prominent leaders and the high command.

The process will be as confidential as it was during the election of Mumbai Congress president,” the source said. Maharashtra Congress president Thorat has expressed his willingness to step down to pave the way for young leaders. Names of several leaders like State Assembly Speaker Nana Patole, Energy Minister Nitin Raut, Sunil Kedar, among others, are doing the rounds.

Thorat was holding three crucial positions — Legislative Leader in State assembly, Revenue Minister and party president — and has apparently bowed to the one-person one-post demand. Sources said that owing to the heavy work burden, he was unable to do justice to the party affairs, a claim contested by his supporters.