4 Dec : Congress Legislature Party meeting in Mumbai on Thursday adopted a resolution authorising Sonia to name the successor to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh since he had submitted his resignation to Governor S C Jamir owning moral responsibility for Mumbai terror attacks.
The announcement regarding successor of Deshmukh, who resigned in wake of Mumbai terror attacks, is likely to be made tonight, MPCC sources said.Names of Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, Industries Minister Ashok Chavan and former Union minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil are doing the rounds.
Of Congress’ 75 MLAs, 22 MLCs and 11 associate members, three legislators were absent at the CLP meeting, Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh said.
The Congress had last night announced its decision to remove Deshmukh, who was under pressure following Mumbai terror attacks.
"I have accepted moral responsibility for Mumbai terror attacks. In a democracy one has to honour people’s anguish and anger," Deshmukh, who last month completed four years of his second term in the office, said.
The 63-year-old Deshmukh drove to Raj Bhawan and submitted his resignation to Governor S C Jamir, soon after addressing a press conference where he thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for giving him an opportunity to be at the helm of affairs in the state on two occasions.
"I have served for so long in the government… it is now my duty to serve the party", Deshmukh said when asked if he would be contesting the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
"The party has to decide whether I should contest Lok Sabha or other election", Deshmukh said.
The development work done by the Congress-NCP government during my tenure would help Congress in winning the next elections, Deshmukh said.
He remained silent on who would succeed him. "The legislature party will decide and Sonia Gandhi will take the final decision", he said.
Asked about any regret during his tenure, Deshmukh pointed to the Mumbai terror attacks, adding "we could not save so many lives lost in the war against India".
At the press conference, Deshmukh was flanked by MPCC president Manikrao Thakre and working president Jaywantrao Awale.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir accepted Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s resignation, asking him to continue in office till alternate arrangements are made.
Earlier at the press conference, Deshmukh said, "I had offered to resign at the CWC meeting. They (leadership) consulted many other factors and finally decided."
"Congress is the only party which honours people’s sentiments. Shivraj Patil quit following terror attacks. This did not happen in non-Congress governments. The then Home Minister did not quit after Parliament was attacked," he said.
"BJP should emulate this," the Congress leader added.
Noting that his political career began as a ‘sarpanch’ in Babhalgaon village of Latur district, Deshmukh said he was leaving office "without the stigma of facing allegations of corruption or strictures passed against me".
Deshmukh described Mumbai makeover, efforts to curb load-shedding, measures to check farmers’ suicides, removal of development backlog of Vidarbha, attracting foreign direct investment, rental housing plan and also plans to build two lakh affordable houses in two years as his government’s achievements.