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Mah congress puts behind infighting and presents a united face

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Aug 24 (UNI) With AICC president Sonia Gandhi cracking the whip on squabbling Maharashtra Congress leaders, they came together today to put up a united face discussing political and developmental issues facing the state.

In an attempt to galvanise the party machinery in election mode in view of the elections to 27 Zilla Parishads, 14 municipal corporations, 308 panchayat samitis and 210 nagar parishads between late 2006 and early 2007, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and state unit chief Prabha Rau who have been at logger heads held a marathon six-hour meeting at the party headquarters in central Mumbai discussing various issues with senior leaders and district unit presidents and officebearers.

Although today's meeting was bereft of any hard talk between Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's supporters and the Prabha Rau camp, party sources said the Chief Minister had got a go ahead for the cabinet reshuffle and the much delayed appointments to state run corporations and boards.

With the appointments to be announced shortly,perhaps in a day's time, the reshuffle is expected to take place in a forthnight, sources added.

Sources said the party high command did not want to disturb the state unit and the leadership in the government with the local bodies elections being held in two months time.

Only July 29, the extended working committee of the MPCC saw heated exchange of words between CM's aides and Ms Rau and AICC general secretary Margaret Alva where Mr Deshmukh's supporters alleged that the state unit was not supporting the Chief Minister who was single handedly handling the NCP in the government.

Mr Deshmukh's supporters were also angry that the state unit was giving undue importance to newcomers in the party citing the role of Ms Rau and Ms Alva in promoting Revenue Minister Narayan Rane in the party hierarchy.

Party sources said the high command had told Mr Deshmukh and Ms Rau to resolve their differences and get working to galvanise the party for the upcoming local bodies polls.

Sources said Mr Rane's frequent trips to Delhi had fuelled speculations about the impending change in the government's leadership.

''If at all there would be change, it will be after assessing the party's performance in the local bodies elections which will conclude in February 2007. The AICC is too busy with national politics and proposed union cabinet expansion as well as containing the damage caused by former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh following his indictment in food for oil scam'', sources added.

Soon after the meeting Ms Rau said there were different views on the issue of alliance with NCP in local bodies polls. The majority view was to go alone. The final decision would be taken by the central leadership.

UNI MR ADG MIR PC2149

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