Amid reported divisions on the leadership issue, a meeting of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Saturday authorised Congress president Sonia Gandhi to name the new leader who will be Maharashtra chief minister.
Two days after the party stormed back to power for a third time in row, the newly elected MLAs met under the supervision of central observers--AICC general secretary incharge of Maharashtra A K Antony, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K Rehman Khan and senior leader Digvijay Singh.
As expected, the meeting first "unanimously" resolved to leave the decision on who would land the top job to the Congress president after which the observers elicited the views of the legislators individually.
"A majority of the newly elected MLAs told us they would abide by the decision of the party high command while some of them also gave their preferences (of who should be the next CLP leader). But all agreed to accept whatever decision Congress president takes," Antony told reporters after the meeting.
Antony declined to disclose the names discussed at the meeting but sources said chief minister Ashok Chavan is being considered as favourite to retain the job.
Before flying to New Delhi with Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Narayan Rane, who are also among the claimants for the post, Antony said the new leader will be announced after consultation with the party president.