Maharashtra: Congress turning to old guards ahead of Assembly polls

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Senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde
Senior Congress leader AK Antony in his report might have given clean chit to Rahul Gandhi and his team for the worst-ever poll debacle of the party in recently concluded Lok Sabha poll. But, it seems that the Congress high command is in no mood to give party vice-president a second chance in the upcoming State Assembly polls. The ensuing Assembly elections in the four States are very crucial for the Congress, so Sonia Gandhi has herself taken the reins of the party into her hands and leading at almost every front. Sonia is wary of taking any chance with people from Rahul's team whose disastrous planning led to consecutive failures in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. She is entrusting party veterans with bigger responsibilities ahead of Assembly polls and dumping Rahul's trusted men.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is the latest scapegoat in Congress's scheme of things. Chavan, who till date claimed that the Congress high command has full faith in him, has not given any specific role in Assembly polls. Rather, the party has brought Congress veterans Narayan Rane and Ashok Chavan, the known detractors of CM Chavan. Rane and Chavan has been made chairmen of Campaigning and Coordination committees respectively. Also, former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has been appointed the head of the election manifesto committee.

Senior Congress leaders are now given a 'say' in decision making

The Congress Central leadership has ignored CM Chavan who is said to be close to party vice-president and instead given a major 'say' to veterans, who were sidelined all these years to make way for Rahul's coterie. According to reports, party high command have not even consulted CM Chavan during the last leg of negotiations with Rane who had resigned from party post criticising Chavan's leadership.

Chavan's clean image not a vote puller

Prithviraj Chavan has always been known for his 'clean image' and the party leadership tried to cash-in his image to brush away its past sins in the State. But, as the Lok Sabha results reflected it failed to accomplish its plans. For quite long time, Chavan has been accused of shielding the scamsters. Opposition parties have been alleging that Chavan never took action against the people involved in different scams.

Congress’s 2009 tally of 17 seats crashed to 2 in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Ever since, Chavan, termed as an outsider in State politics, took over as Maha CM, the Congress has lost its ground level connectivity. The party failed to hold its grip with grass-root workers. With no knowledge of State politics, Chavan failed to bind together the district units of the party which further affected the performance of Congress. Some of the senior Congress leaders in the State are also blaming him for party's most humiliating defeat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.

The recent decision of AICC is a clear signal that the top brass is unhappy with his performance in the State even though he might not have replaced him.

Sonia entrusting on experienced Rane, Shinde, Chavan

The Congress does not want to take a risk this time so as a part of a new strategy, the AICC has given role to Ashok Chavan, the strong Maratha leader despite the scam taint. The party is confident that these leaders with their grass-root connectivity could revive the party and take-on the BJP-Sena alliance in upcoming Assembly polls.

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