Prithviraj Chavan is the new Maharashtra CM

10 November,2010 10:30 AM IST |   |  Agencies

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has selected Prithviraj Chavan as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra

Congressu00a0 President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday selected Union minister Prithviraj Chavan as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra

Prithviraj Chavan said that he had been informed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony about the Congress chief's decision to make him the next chief minister of Maharashtra and added that he was "highly honoured and humbled".

The minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said he had had requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to relieve him of his duties and had got his blessings.

"This morning Mr. A.K. Anthony informed me that the Congress president has chosen me to lead Maharashtra. I requested the prime minister to relieve me from the responsibilities of the union government and he has blessed me," Chavan told reporters here.

He said he was "highly honoured and humbled" by the fact that the Congress leadership and the MLAs of Maharashtra had called upon him "to undertake the responsibility of heading the government of Maharashtra at this important juncture".

"I seek the cooperation and support of all and I promise that I will do my best to give leadership to the state, an eminent state in the country," Chavan said, adding that he would be leaving for Mumbai by Wednesday evening.

Prithviraj Chavan profile
Known to enjoy the confidence of both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chavan (64) is a technocrat who entered the hurly burly of electoral politics at the persuasion of Rajiv Gandhi.

An engineer by profession, Chavan graduated from BITS Pilani and got a masters from the University of California. Chavan has been credited with research in introduction of computerisation of Indian languages.

Hailing from Karad district of Western Maharashtra, Chavan belongs to the politically dominant Maratha community and his elevation to the Chief Minister's post is also being seen as a move by the Congress to stop consolidation of Maratha votes in favour of NCP.

Chavan is known for not getting on well with NCP chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar. His father, a prominent Congressman D R alias Anandrao Chavan, was the "diwan" of the Indore royalty and a well-known legal luminary, who served as minister in the cabinets of Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.

Prithviraj Chavan made his maiden entry into the Lok Sabha in 1991 from Karad and went on to win the seat in 1996 and 1998.

In 1999, he lost to Shriniwas Patil of the NCP. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2002 and 2008. He has been the interface between 10, Janpath and 7, Race Course Road ever since his appointment as Minister of State in the PMO in 2004.

The affable, low-profile Chavan has the trust of Sonia and his pro-reform leaning has the strong approval of Manmohan Singh.

As a member of the UPA-Left Coordination Committee on Indo-US nuclear deal, Chavan steadfastly advocated the government's agenda and, after Manmohan Singh government won the trust vote, he travelled to many countries to deliver the Prime Minister's message ahead of the IAEA meeting.

Considered one of PM's chief trouble-shooters, he played a major role in the smooth passage of the civil nuclear liability bill in Parliament.

He currently holds five portfolios, the highest by any minister in the UPA government, including Science and Technology, Earth sciences, Parliamentary affairs, Public grievances and Pension and Ministry of personnel, which includes the CBI.

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Prithviraj Chavan new Chief Minister Maharashtra Sonia Gandhi Congress President news Mumbai