Deshmukh meets Sonia

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (UNI) As the Congress high command delays its decision on the resignation of Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane from the state cabinet, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today held discussions with party president Sonia Gandhi on the state's political and administrative issues.

Though Mr Deshmukh devoted most of his time discussing the strategy to be adopted by the ruling Democratic Front in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Rane issue did crop up prominently in the meeting.

Mr Rane, who joined the Congress Party in 2005 after leaving the Shiv Sena, had announced his resignation from the Deshmukh government following his differences over the cabinet decision to give 100 acres of land to the Videocon company in Navi Mumbai for setting up an LCD manufacturing unit.

A known detractor of the Chief Minister, Mr Rane had recently launched a fresh attack against Mr Deshmukh.

AICC sources said Mr Deshmukh and Ms Gandhi had discussed the choice of candidates for the post of PCC President.

There are indications that a new PCC President will be in place in a few days. In the absence of a PCC President, Working President Patamrao Kadam had been functioning as acting president. The seat of PCC President remains vacant since Ms Prabha Rau was appointed as Himachal pradesh governor.

Talking to mediapersons at the Maharashtra Sadan, Mr Deshmukh said he conveyed to Ms Gandhi the feelings of the state's farmers and elected represetatives and the need for another package, especially for those farmers who had repaid the loans promptly to the lending banks.

In the earlier package declared by the UPA governemnt, such farmers did not get benefit from the waiver scheme. He conveyed to Ms Gandhi that the state was ready to bear half of the burden when such a scheme was implemented.

Asked if the Maharashtra government would give revised payscales to the state government employees in the light of the centre's decision to implement the sixth pay commission recommendations, Mr Deshmukh said his government would implement it after studying the likely burden on the state exchequer.

UNI SH SK HS1843

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