Ridiculing media reports about his impending dismissal as chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan on Friday said that it was not the NCP but the Congress leadership which would decide who should be the state's CM.
His comments a day after NCP President Sharad Pawar met top Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel and A K Antony, sparking intense speculation of a possible change of guard.
When asked about the meeting, Chavan said, "The change of leadership in Maharashtra is only in newspapers and news. As far as this meeting is concerned, there has been one meeting before this and since the UPA does not have 15-16 constituents after the Lok Sabha election results, CP is the major UPA constituent. Congress leaders do discuss with NCP leaders issues about the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and others."
On the possibility of him being replaced, he said "I have been reading a lot on this only in newspapers. I was sent to Maharashtra by the Congress president in a peculiar situation and I have been working since then and I will continue to do so. We are preparing for the assembly polls by harnessing the social media as well as big data management through state of the art technology."
Chavan said that despite implementing various welfare schemes including the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Health Mission, it was its failure to convey it effectively to the masses which had led to the Congress' drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. He said that infrastructure projects in the city and state, solid waste management, water management were the issues which his government was confronting at various levels, adding that he would approach the assembly elections by effective campaigning of the work done so far.
Calling the Lok Sabha debacle unexpected, Chavan said, "All chief ministers of Congress-ruled states have met party president Sonia Gandhi after the results and have expressed the determination that we will fight the ensuing assembly elections with strength." He said that the party was studying the reasons for the Lok Sabha election results and would approach the assembly elections with state-of-the-art technology.