New Delhi, Dec 4: Maharashtra state Industries Minister Ashok Chavan has been the hot favourite for CM's post, ever since Deshmukh's resignation began making rounds. Chavan is an MLA from Nanded and the son of the late SB Chavan, who was twice chief minister of the state.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony will meet Congress MLAs in Mumbai on Thursday, Dec 4 to select the new Chief Minister. State politicians Balasaheb Vikhe Patil and Narayan Rane are other names doing the rounds for the post, but it is almost certain that Shinde and Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan are now out of the running.
The state's top political post fell vacant after Deshmukh was asked to resign by his party in a fall-out after Mumbai terrorist attacks 2008.
Deshmukh was under pressure to quit in the aftermath of the November 26 terrorist attack, especially after Shivraj Patil resigned as Union home minister on Sunday, Nov 30 taking moral responsibility for the failure to prevent the terrorist strike, followed by RR Patil who had to quit as the state's deputy chief minister and home minister.