Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan came under scathing attack at a meeting of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headed by senior leader AK Antony, with some state leaders telling the high command that the party's fate would be no better in the Assembly polls due by October.
Going into the causes of the worst electoral debacle in the Lok Sabha polls, the Committee was told by the detractors of the chief minister as also PCC Chief Manikrao Thakre that the failure of the state leadership to rise to the occasion cost the party dearly, party sources said.
The panel led by Antony met party leaders from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh today. Congress has won two seats each in the two states which has 48 and 39 Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Argument of Chavan's supporters was that the writing was on the wall as pre-poll surveys conducted by the party immediately after Narendra Modi was projected as BJP's PM candidate, had projected as much as 54% support to the NDA and just 36 per cent to the ruling UPA. This gap widened as the poll neared.
Detractors of the chief minister complained to the Committee that candidates did not get adequate resources from the state leadership at a time when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) campaign was aggressive. There was not much to write home about the accomplishments of the Chavan government, they said.
Congress has been a divided house since the defeat in the Lok Sabha polls with detractors of the chief minister like Narayan Rane and Ashok Chavan giving ample indications that Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance will assume power in the coming assembly elections if the chief minister is not changed.
Two members of the Antony panel - AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik and AICC Secretary Avinash Pande - hail from Maharashtra. The fourth member of the panel is Rajya Sabha member RC Khuntia.