In a massive jolt to Maharashtra Congress, its state chief Balasaheb Thorat has offered to resign from the post of party chief, reports sources on Monday. Thorat's offer to resign comes amid the grand old party's plans to restructure the state Congress. As per sources, an urgent meeting has been called over the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief post. Thorat, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, has been facing massive backlash from Congress leaders over NCP or Shiv Sena and has had to often paly the peacemaker.
Since Maharashtra govt's cabinet expansion in January 2020, discontent in the Congress party surfaced between Maharashtra cabinet minister Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat with both senior leaders reportedly demanding the Revenue and PWD portfolio. Moreover, other Congress leaders like Nitin Raut and Vijay Wadettiwar too had demanded the PWD ministry. While Thorat and Chavan were allotted the Revenue ministry and the PWD ministry respectively, Raut, Wadettiwar and Sunil Kedar were among 10 ministers of the Congress who found a place in the new government.
However, the choice of certain leaders is ministers and portfolio allocation seems to have not gone down well with a section of Maharashtra Congress. A senior Maharashtra Congress leader questioned the integrity of MLAs Aslam Sheikh and Vishwajit Kadam on Tuesday who was inducted into the new cabinet, claiming that both the leaders were reportedly keen to jump the ship to the BJP prior to the Assembly polls held in October last year. Moreover, Congress Mumbai Congress General Secretary Vishwabandhu Rai has written a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi stating that the party is being sidelined in the state government and the NCP is "weakening the Congress party like termites weaken wood". Recently, Congress has been miffed with Shiv Sena's comments on Sonia Gandhi's UPA chairmanship with Chavan saying, "Sena not part of UPA".
Meanwhile, at the national level, Congress' Central Election Authority (CEA) is updating party delegates’ list, logistical preparedness and time frame for notifying the poll schedule and date of voting for the next party chief. Reports state that Congress will choose its next chief in a digital AICC meeting via the electoral college process in January-February 2021. According to ANI sources, the demand for Rahul Gandhi to take over the top post was raised at the meeting, to which the ex-Congress chief said that it must be left to the electoral process. As per reports, CEA is drawing up a voters list of around 1500 AICC delegates and is planning to hold digital elections, marking a first - with the term of the presidency will be only for 2 years.