It’s no secret that state Congress chief Govindrao Adik has been badmouthing Deshmukh. But that’s only a sneak peek as far as anti-Deshmukh dissidence goes. Chief minister-hopefuls Patangrao Kadam, Rohidas Patil and Sushilkumar Shinde too would love to see him go. And then there is Ranjeet Deshmukh, who was unceremoniously dropped from the state cabinet.
To top it all, Congress observer for Maharashtra Vyalar Ravi seems to have joined the anti-Deshmukh camp. He’s grown far too close to Suresh Kalmadi for Deshmukh’s comfort. But it’s not mere dissidence that threatens Deshmukh. A rash of anti-people decisions taken by his cabinet are bound to hurt his party’s prospects. The high command, in fact, seems to be increasingly unsure if Deshmukh can deliver Maharashtra to the Congress in the 2004 assembly elections. For the moment, the lack of a good enough alternative has kept Deshmukh in the saddle. But it’s unclear for how long.