Deshmukh's candidate appointed MPCC president

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Mumbai, Aug 17 (UNI) Tdhe appointment of Manikrao Thakre as the new Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president is being considered a victory for Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and appointment of Kripa Shankar Singh as president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) is seen as a blow to Revenue Minister Narayan Rane's camp, political observers here said.

The newly-appointed leaders will hold the reins of the party in the state for next year's Assembly election. They also include Jayant Awale, the new working president, and Gurudas Kamat, who has been named as Chairman of the State Campaign Committee.

Thakre began his career as a Zilla Parishad Member in Yavatmal District of Vidarbha and started his political innings in 1985, when he was elected as MLA from Darwha in Yavatmal. He had an ninterrupted tenure of 19 years as an MLA, during which twice he was Minister of State and also held the post of state Home Minister.

In 2004 assembly election, he was defeated by Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Rathod. However, being a hard core high command loyalist as well as close to Mr Deshmukh, he always enjoyed popularity in the party.

On the other hand, Kripa Shankar Singh, rose from an humble party worker in north India to a prestigious post of the party. He was an MLA for the last ten years. He was also Minister of State for Home for three and half years in Mr Deshmukh and Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde's cabinet in Maharashtra.

However, Mr Singh fell out of Mr Deshmukh's favour for a brief period as he sided with Mr Shinde. But as Mr Kamat resigned from the MRCC, Singh became the top contestant for the coveted post, which was held by bigwigs like Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, the observers said.

The appointment of Mr Kamat is being considered, more or less, as sidelining Mr Rane, who was vying for the post. Mr Kamat resigned as MPCC Chief after completing five years in office.

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