Rahul may take final call on replacing chief ministers

Rahul may take final call on replacing chief ministers

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi may take the final call on replacing the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Haryana and Assam, who are beleaguered since the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls in their states.

A final picture could emerge once Rahul returns from abroad, said Congress sources.
Maharashtra and Haryana chief ministers, Prithviraj Chavan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, respectively, had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday amid intense speculation about a change of leadership in Congress-ruled states.

In the case of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge will travel to Guwahati on Monday to interact with MLAs and gauge their mood.

So far, Gogoi has had the backing of Rahul Gandhi.

However, the anti-Gogoi camp, led by the state Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, has been mounting pressure on the party high-command to replace him.

They claim that they have the support of more than 45 MLAs of the Congress' total of 78 in the Assembly. “So, even though Rahul Gandhi had backed Gogoi earlier, the possibility of a split in Assam has forced a rethink,” said a dissident leader.

With indication that Hooda could be on relatively safe ground, senior Congress leader Birender Singh on Sunday hit out at him.

“I will not contest the Assembly elections under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,” he said. Singh, a Rajya Sabha member and a known detractor of Hooda, said he had conveyed to Rahul Gandhi the steps that could be taken to salvage the party's electoral prospects.

A prominent leader from the Jat community, like Hooda, Singh is said to be in touch with BJP president Rajnath Singh too.

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