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Business Standard

Chavan gets nod to reshuffle party, Cabinet

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CM planning to soon make appointments to posts of chairman, vice-chairman and other members in various state undertakings

Maharashtra chief minister on Saturday stumped his critics in the after he received the nod from party president Sonia Gandhi to reshuffle the council of ministers, state and Mumbai party organisations and carry out the long-awaited appointments in various state undertakings. A major reshuffle is on the cards, as the present state party president Manikrao Thakre, who is keen on joining the Chavan-led council of ministers, would be replaced soon.

In a related development, Chavan also held a meeting with Prime Minister and discussed various pending issues like funding of various infrastructure projects worth Rs 1,50,000 crore being proposed or undertaken for Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.

Chavan is also keen to appoint his confidant and former Maharashtra minister as the new state party chief, while the names of Rajya Sabha member , former union minister are also being considered. Further, Chavan is also keen on appointing a new president for the , as the post is lying vacant after the incumbent resigned following the high court's order in a case relating to disproportionate assets and also after party's humiliating defeat in the held in February. State minister for women and child welfare Varsha Gaikwad, Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad, party office bearer BG Shinde and party legislator BHai Jagtap are the front-runners for the post of Mumbai party chief.

Chavan is believed to have received tacit support of Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi despite campaign launched by some party legislators against him for “decision deficit” and “policy paralysis”. Congress party officer bearers believe that by permitting Chavan to carry out the much-awaited reshuffle of the party organisation and also of his council of ministers, Sonia has sent out a clear message that Chavan would not be removed from the chief ministership. And instead, others will have to support him in his task to bring in transparency and sanity in the administration. Moreover, Chavan's meeting took place at a time when co-partner has threatened to pull out of the government.

Chavan, who met Sonia on Saturday morning, also would be in a position to soon make appointments in various state undertakings. There are about 64 functional and 22 non-functional undertakings. Barring a few, the appointments of chairman, vice chairman and other members, which are under the Congress quota, have not been done even after the assumption of power by the Congress-led government after 2009 Assembly elections.

Chavan told Business Standard, “It is true that I took up the issues of reshuffle in party organisation, appointment of party members in various committees and corporations.” “It was but natural for me to brief the Congress president about the proceedings and outcome of the five-week Budget session of the state legislature,” he added.

Congress party insiders said Chavan also informed the government’s move to table the controversial reports of Comptroller & Auditor General and an interim report of the Judicial Commission on the Adarsh scam. The state government was attacked by the Opposition for the alleged leakage of CAG reports that castigated the government over the sale and allotment of government lands, especially to various educational and social institutions promoted by leaders from the ruling Congress and NCP. As far as tabling of the interim report on Adarsh scam is concerned, Chavan is believed to have told Sonia that the government would not interfere with the ongoing investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), which has so far arrested nine persons in connection with the scam.

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