Following Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan*s submission of resignation to the Governor on Tuesday in the wake of the Adarsh Housing Society scam, speculation is rife over his successor, with names of a few central and state party leaders doing the rounds.
Names of Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Union Ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Mukul Wasnik as well as Vilasrao Deshmukh are in the reckoning, Congress sources said.
In case the high command vetoes Vilasrao*s candidature as his name also figured in the scam, he is all set to back Thorat, who enjoys clean image in the state politics, sources said. Thorat has been an MLA since 1985, a cabinet minister for last 11 years, a staunch loyalist of Congress and Gandhi family and a leading figure in state co-operative movement.
Wasnik, senior Congress leader from Vidarbha region, has credentials of Gandhi family loyalist and confidante, a Dalit, and also an organisation man with clean image, they said.
Congress observers including AK Antony are reaching Mumbai in the afternoon and will meet party legislators to gauge their opinions on the new CLP leader.
Names of Prithviraj Chavan, known as a staunch opponent of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in western Maharashtra, and Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde who is a Dalit, are also being discussed.