Antony, Patel meet Pawar

Amid speculation about a possible change of guard in Maharashtra ahead of Assembly elections, senior Congress leaders A K Antony and Ahmed Patel on Thursday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence here.

The meeting, which lasted for nearly half an hour, comes in the backdrop of intense speculation that Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan may be replaced.

Names of senior leaders like former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, a Dalit face of the party in Maharashtra, and state Revenue Minister Balsaheb Thorat besides that of state Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil are doing the rounds as successor to Chavan.

Meanwhile, Patangrao Kadam, state Environment and Forest Minister, met senior Congress leaders.

There is also a view in the party that change of guard at this juncture, three months away from an Assembly election, need to be looked into.

Seat-sharing talks for Assembly elections are also to begin now.

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