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Shinde may be CM again

By Vijay Singh in Mumbai
October 28, 2004 18:48 IST
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Maharashtra caretaker Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is likely to retain his job.

With the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party agreeing on a formula for government formation, the focus has now shifted on to who would be the next chief minister of Maharashtra.

Shinde has impeccable credentials to beat the other two contenders -- former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Industries Minister Patangrao Kadam. He is a Dalit and he has just led the party to a stunning victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance. This he did fighting against a strong anti-incumbency feeling and a string of electoral setbacks in his home constituency of Solapur.

With assembly elections due in a few more states in 2005, a Dalit chief minister in Mumbai will be a good stepping stone for the Congress.

Another factor that is working in Shinde's favour is the inevitability of a Maratha getting the deputy chief minister's post. The Dy CM's post has gone to the NCP in the power-sharing formula and the front-runners are three Marathas -- Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, R R Patil and Ajit Pawar.


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Vijay Singh in Mumbai