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CM issue to be resolved on Sunday

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
October 16, 2004 21:43 IST
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According to a senior Congress leader in New Delhi, the issue of Maharashtra chief ministership will be resolved only after Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar meets Congress party president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday.

While talking to he said, "Ms Gandhi made a quick assessment of the event. We feel we got less number of seats than expected." The Congress's core team believes that two major factors that worked against them – one was the Mayawati factor, which affected them adversely in Vidarbha, and the second was that Nationalist Congress party men worked against the party in some constituencies.

After mid-day on Saturday, Sharad Pawar started talking about the '99 principle' and about NCP laying claim to the chief minister's post. The Congress thinks Pawar might claim the CM's post for the NCP for certain reasons. He may use it to bargain for a better portfolio at the Centre, on which account his ambitions are well-known.

He also has ambitious plans for strengthening his party and the development of Maharashtra. The only factor that is worrying him is the debt crisis, which could hinder the development plans.

Now, however, Pawar is playing a win-win game. He is keen to see that even if the Congress selects its candidate for CM, the person should suit his preference. He would prefer Sushil Kumar Shinde to continue in his post. The Congress believes that Pawar will not agree upon any other Congressman for the post of chief minister.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi